Audit: Lane County Abiding Well With 2013 Jail Levy

Mar 22, 2017

For the third year in a row, an independent audit shows Lane County has maintained jail bed and youth treatment facilities in accordance with a levy passed in 2013.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, backers hope this makes the case for renewing the levy in May.  

Inside the Lane County Jail, Eugene.
Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Accounting firm Moss Adams reviewed efforts to expand jail capacity in Lane County over the past year.  They say allocated funding was used appropriately. In fact, jail beds surpassed the designated number by 61. 

Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp says adherence to levy language has made effective use of the roughly $15 million of annual generated funds, while ensuring that less violent offenders are being released.

“It was over 5,000 annual releases and now we’re somewhere over 2,000," says Trapp.  "It’s a 63 percent reduction on a monthly average of releases that we’ve seen. 

Lane County Sheriff, Byron Trapp
Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

"But the people being released today are primarily misdemeanor charges…property crime and drug crime charges that aren’t violent person crimes.  We’ve increased jail capacity for local offenders over 250 percent, but it’s only 317 beds.” 

The jail levy is up for renewal on May 16th.  Trapp fears that if voters don’t approve it, resources and safety will suffer setbacks.