|Washington County Sheriff's Office
Forced Release Report
What is a forced release?
The Washington County Jail has the capacity to house 572 inmates. Typically, about 48 offenders are booked into the jail each day (17,944 in 2014). Occasionally, there are not enough beds to hold all the inmates who require lodging. When jail beds are full and no other release options are available, the jail is forced to release inmates. Jail staff strive to release inmates who have the strongest ties to the community and who pose the lowest risk to public safety compared to the other inmates being held. Jail staff members perform a risk assessment to determine which inmates should be released.
What is the risk assessment used and how does it work?
The risk assessment is an objective scoring system that is used to evaluate an inmate's prior criminal history and to measure their ties to the community (such as employment, family, and place of residence). The risk assessment gives higher scores to inmates with prior criminal convictions for violent or drug-related crimes and to those who are repeat offenders.
What release options are available for inmates and jail staff?
Why is failure to appear in court significant?
The Washington County Jail attempts to hold all inmates charged with Failure to Appear until the first court appearance. However, due to overcrowding, sometimes they must be released. If the inmates who are released fail to appear in court again, a warrant is issued by the court, and law enforcement must locate, re-arrest, and bring them to jail again. The cycle of arrest, release, and failure to appear, is repeated in many cases and is very costly.
When defendants fail to appear in court as scheduled, they waste not only their time, but the time and resources of the court, district attorney and defense attorneys and that translates to taxpayer expense and a further burden to an already limited law enforcement system.
The charges that appear on this site are only Washington County arrests. Most of these offenders have numerous arrests in other counties and states. The law prohibits the Sheriff's Office from publishing those arrests.