By Sharon Ko
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Tracking down offenders is getting riskier for probation officers in Josephine County.
Ever since budget cuts forced the released of inmates, probation officers are getting wary of checking up on them. Many of these offenders who are out of jail have committed serious crimes.
In May of this year, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office released a total of 39 inmates from the jail. Many of the released inmates had charges ranging from 4th degree assault to third degree rape, and some of those inmates had many as 20 felony charges.
Abe Huntley, Director of Community Corrections, met with county commissioners to discuss safety concerns for probation officers. Commissioner Don Reedy told NewsWatch12 officers are now pairing up to protect themselves, worried offenders are bolder these days.
As new offenders are lodged at the jail, jail staff are forced to release other inmates to make space. Funding from the Transportation Bill could help reopen some of those beds, but Commissioner Reedy says they are not sure how the county is going to utilize the funding.
The transportation funding will provide a cushion for another year. The commissioners need to figure out how to divide that up between several departments.