By Northwest Spotlight
An annual, independent financial audit of the use of jail levy revenue has found that funds have been used as promised to restore local jail beds and critical youth treatment facilities.
The audit was conducted by Moss Adams, LLP and covers funding and expenses during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. This is the fourth annual, independent audit that has been conducted for the jail levy. The first three annual audits also found that funds were used appropriately and as promised.
“Lane County and its residents are safer as a result of the jail levy,” said Sheriff Byron Trapp. “We have significantly reduced capacity-based releases due to lack of jail capacity and eliminated capacity-based releases of pre-trial defendants charged with violent, Measure 11 crimes. The renewal of the levy for an additional five years is an indication of how much our community values the additional local jail beds.”
The five-year levy, which passed during the May 2013 election, promised to maintain a minimum of 255 local jail beds, 8 youth detention beds and 8 youth treatment beds for critical youth services for the duration of the levy. The levy was renewed in May 2017 with overwhelming support from the community.
Prior to the levy, there were only 125 local jail beds. On July 1, 2013, the Lane County Jail opened an additional 131 local beds with funding provided by the successful levy for a total of 256 local jail beds. The Sheriff has continued to reopen jail beds with levy funds, bringing the total number of local jail beds to 317. The Lane County Jail will again be increasing the number of local jail beds to 367 on February 3, 2018 (a 293-percent increase in local jail beds), which provides greater ability to hold defendants and offenders accountable in our community.
Lane County Youth Services maintained 16 youth detention beds and 16 youth treatment beds during the 2016-2017 fiscal year – double the capacity promised by the levy.