Grants Pass, Ore — Josephine County has until the end of the next fiscal year to find a way to fund the Josephine County Jail or County officials say the entire facility could close down.
The Josephine County Jail is funded by grants through the next fiscal year, but that money could soon run out, and that means Sheriff Dave Daniel will have to look for alternatives to fund his facility.
“What do you do with murderers when you can’t hold them, you have to hold them,” said Sheriff Daniel.
The Josephine County Jail is funded through the 2016-2017 fiscal year, but there’s no guarantee that money will be there come the summer of 2017.
“With that being the case, I had to look at a situation where I had to look at closing the jail,” said Daniel.
With 130 beds and between 25 and 30 ‘Measure 11’ criminals in the jail now, that puts sheriff Dave Daniel in a tough position.
“We have basically a year and a half to come up with some type of a plan, or some type of funding source,” said Daniel.
Past efforts to fund the jail through taxes and levys failed, so County Commissioners say they’ve been looking at a number of alternatives, many of them at the state level, including an initiative that would return more lottery funds to the County and in turn the jail.
“It’s like a table, we have four different legs, juvenile, sheriff’s city police, D.A.’s office, if one of those legs gets cut off, i.e., a jail there’s no punishing agent, or a way to hold these people,” said Daniel.
Daniel says he’s already talked to neighboring sheriff’s departments about renting jail beds for his worst offenders but was turned down.
“I’m hopeful they can come up with some kind of solution, or at least an option,” said Daniel.
The jail currently employs nearly 30 people, and if funding were to be lost, that means many of those positions may have to be cut.
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