|Washington County Sheriff's Office
Forced Release Report
What is a forced release?
The Washington County Jail has the capacity to house 572 Adults in custody. Typically, about 49 offenders are booked into the jail each day (17,999 in 2019). Occasionally, there are not enough beds to hold all the Adults in custody who require lodging. When jail beds are full and no other release options are available, the jail is forced to release Adults in custody. Jail staff strive to release Adults in custody who have the strongest ties to the community and who pose the lowest risk to public safety compared to the other Adults in custody being held. Jail staff members perform a risk assessment to determine which Adults in custody 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 adult in custody'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 Adults in custody with prior criminal convictions for violent or drug-related crimes and to those who are repeat offenders.
What release options are available for Adults in custody and jail staff?
Why is failure to appear in court significant?
The Washington County Jail attempts to hold all Adults in custody charged with Failure to Appear until the first court appearance. However, due to overcrowding, sometimes they must be released. If the Adults in custody 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 other arrests.