Lane County Sheriff Outlines Jail Increases; Group Wants Juveniles Removed From Measure 11; Hospital Takes Lead With Crisis Training

Levy Helps Staff Jail Amid Budget Cuts

Oregon Sheriff’s have been facing an uphill battle after the state cut its funding in many areas including patrol.  Sheriff Byron Trapp says staffing levels is .17 percent of the average of sheriff’s departments across the country and that has limited the impact that they have in responding to emergency situations.

“Between 2007 and 2012 the sheriff’s office laid off 95 employees.  Many of those deputy sheriffs.”

Trapp says this had a crippling effect in many areas including the jail.   Prior to the approved levy in 2013 the sheriff’s office began releasing inmates awaiting trial including Measure 11 offenders which are some of the most violent offenders.

“In 2012 we released three people pending homicide charges from our jail because of capacity.”

Bed capacity was only 125 in 2012 and as of February 3rd there will be 367 beds available.  Trapp says they no longer release the most violent offenders as a direct result of the additional money the levy has afforded the department.

“From that day forward we have not released Measure 11 offenders or violent felony offenders, pre-trial, or from a sentence before completed if they are serving it in the county jail.”

Trapp says they are not up to capacity yet as it has taken some time to hire new deputies, but that they are getting closer to the number needed.

Group Wants Juveniles Treated As Juveniles

Oregon youths should not be treated as adults in the criminal-justice system, according to a new report from the Oregon Council on Civil Rights. The report looks at the effects of Measure 11, which requires young people 15 and older be tried as adults for certain crimes. It finds young people lose out when they’re moved to adult courts. Juvenile courts, in contrast, seek to hold youths accountable and help kids get back on track. Bobbin Singh is a member of the Council on Civil Rights. He says a felony conviction for a young person follows them throughout life.

“The lifetime consequences that individuals face with a felony conviction can be pretty severe, from housing to employment to education, so on and so forth. So, being able to fully reintegrate into society is more problematic or more challenging.”

Youths of color experience the brunt of this policy. The report found in 2012, Oregon convicted black youths of Measure 11 offenses at 26 times the rate of their white peers. Measure 11 covers offenses from second-degree robbery to murder. Singh says judges should be able to consider each case differently, rather than use a “one-size-fits-all” approach. The report includes interviews with young people charged under this measure about their backgrounds. Singh says as the interviews show, a complex set of factors lead to these crimes. He adds that sentencing policies should get in line with modern brain science.

“What it fundamentally is doing is disregarding our understanding of brain development or youths and how they develop. Because youths have the capacity to change and are able to rehabilitate, we should have a justice system that actually is sensitive and respectful of that science.”

Singh says this is ultimately a question for the Legislature. He suggests lawmakers remove youths from Measure 11.

Kubisch Leads Crisis Training for Peace Harbor

Peace harbor hospital continues to push forward with cutting edge technology and services wanting to be known for leading the industry in health care.  Recent additions of staff that are from prominent research hospitals have added new insight into opiode reduction during surgeries and also have incorporated new training to better prepare staff for uncommon emergencies.    Jess Kubisch is a nurse anesthetist from Georgetown University who is heading the training.

“We are implementing an inter-disciplinary team training which uses high fidelity simulation in the operating room.”

Kubisch says the training helps them recognize areas of improvement in communication, organization, and hospital configuration.  The training uses a combination of high tech dummies and live volunteers in a variety of simulations from emergency c-sections to critical surgery.

“A lot of times when you are working with different disciplines and different departments that you have difficulty sometime communicating.”

Kubisch says this training brings the departments to the same page and help establish a standard of care in a crisis situation.  Kubisch will be a guest on Our Town next Wednesday and Thursday on Coast Radio.