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County hears jail ‘matrix’ options

JAIL BOSS Bryan Brandenburg updates the NORCOR Board of Directors Thursday on the status of adult inmate capacity at the facility. It was Brandenburg’s first official meeting as administrator at NORCOR. At left, Steve Shaffer, a Gilliam County judge looks on.

Photo by Patrick Mulvihill
JAIL BOSS Bryan Brandenburg updates the NORCOR Board of Directors Thursday on the status of adult inmate capacity at the facility. It was Brandenburg’s first official meeting as administrator at NORCOR. At left, Steve Shaffer, a Gilliam County judge looks on.



The Hood River County Board of Commissioners discussed options Monday on how best to reduce the population of adult inmates at Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility.

The jail in The Dalles, which serves Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties, has a cap of 100 adult inmates but often exceeds that number by about 20, in which case inmates get “matrixed out,” or released early.

Each inmate gets a score based on their prior criminal record and their potential danger to the public — the higher the score, the less likely the inmate will be considered for an early forced release.

The jail’s new administrator, Bryan Brandenburg, reported at a NORCOR Board of Directors meeting Thursday that the jail exceeds capacity on a daily basis.

NORCOR booked 308 adults in July; 54 people were matrixed out — about 17 percent of the booked population. The average daily count was 121, Brandenburg said.

“We’re at a position now where we’re reaching our bed max pretty often and so we need to start looking at our respective counties … for alternatives through supervisory authority for reduced custody type situations,” said Hood River County Sheriff Matt English at the Hood River County Commissioners’ meeting Monday.

English indicated the four NORCOR sheriffs are considering options to refine the matrix so it includes more flexible factors (such as alcohol and drug addiction, and housing issues). They’re also considering a more methodical process to “move people out ourselves” and follow up with electronic monitoring.

Inmates charged with domestic violence and Measure 11 felonies are not considered for being matrixed out, English said.

Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell expressed concerns for the current matrixing system, as did English and commissioners.

English indicated plans to meet with the stakeholders in the coming weeks for public safety discussions regarding the matrix system.



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