At campaign event for levy, sheriff frees inmates

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on April 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Sixteen Lane County inmates walked free in the middle of a press conference on Friday, part of a campaign event designed by an Oregon sheriff to emphasize the need for more money at his jail.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports the inmates scrambled to get away from attending news crews and photographers, going so far as to jump through bushes.

Sheriff Tom Turner says the releases, sometimes numbering 100 inmates, are done "every day" because of shortages and budget cuts.

The closed beds force jailers to release people accused of crimes, but not tried, as well as those who have been convicted of crimes before they have served their full sentences.

Many of those released before trial never show up for their court dates.

The levy vote is May 21.

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