Last year, Portland’s Multnomah County jail officials released a man booked on trespassing accusations without knowing he was wanted for murder in Spokane, reports The Oregonian. They also put an extremely violent convicted murderer in a cell with a man who had turned himself in on drug charges, only to find the man savagely beaten the next morning. He died two weeks later. Jail officials blamed bureaucratic errors in their system of background checks and pledged to improve. Little has been done to correct a flawed system that Sheriff Bernie Giusto says is not his fault.
There is no evidence Giusto even ordered an internal review of last June’s inmate beating death, but he has ordered that starting July 1, deputies must make sure all inmates booked into the jail have received a complete state and national background check before they’re released. It’s just one patch for a jail system that has plenty of gaps. Nearly a year after the jail’s embarrassing release of the murder suspect, Giusto still relies on Portland police for fingerprint checks, even though the fingerprint database doesn’t include the two neighboring states.