EUGENE, Ore. -- At jails in western Oregon timber counties, budget cuts and declining federal timber revenues have been forcing tough choices on who should be kept in jail and who should be let go.

Last month, the issue came to a head in Eugene, when one of the two dozen inmates released was arrested on bank robbery charges the same day he was let go.

The problem is becoming all too common in other struggling timber counties, as well.

It could get worse if the nation goes over the so-called fiscal cliff. Automatic spending reductions would include an 8 percent cut in nearly $2 billion in federal grants that go to state and local law enforcement nationwide.

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