Consultants review pros and cons of current Jackson County Jail

Jackson County, Ore — Capacity, quality and mental health care – all issues at the forefront after a review of the Jackson County Jail.

“Jackson County has identified a need, they’ve identified an issue with their jail,” said April Pottorff, a consultant with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).

After a tour of the Jackson County Jail, consultants with the NIC offered their expert review of the 36 year old facility.

“There’s a capacity issue with the Jail, that’s what’s risen to the surface,” said Pottorff

Hosting law enforcement and lawmakers from across the County, the consultants laid out the pros and cons of the current system.

“What they’ve looked at is there’s some inadequacies with our Jail, but what it’s really doing is laying the groundwork for a roadmap for maybe building a new Jail,” said Captain Dan Penland with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Bed capacity, mental health care and even access to sunlight all shortfalls according to the consultants, despite what they say is excellent jail management.

“The administrators that run that jail are very good at managing the County’s risk, and how they deal with the inmates, the jail is very well maintained for it’s age,” said Pottorff.

As for the the question on the minds of many in the room on whether or not the County should build a new jail, the consultants had this to say:

“We’re not here to tell you, you need to build a Jail or no you don’t or even how big it is, what we’re here to do is give you feedback on what we heard,” said Pottorff.

The Department of Justice provided the review free of charge.

The next step for the County is to either proceed with plans to build a new jail or find solutions with the current facility.

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