Computer program that decides Multnomah Co. jail releases almost let out murder suspect

Jamaine Oliver Jr appears in court - KATU photo

A computer formula that combats overcrowding at the Multnomah County Jail nearly released a murder suspect, and now county leaders are working to make sure it never happens again.

Jamaine Oliver, 19, is being held in the jail on a murder charge as a suspect in the killing of Gresham resident Christopher Moss.

Our news partners at Willamette Week reported that Oliver was set to be released a couple weeks ago, however, the sheriff intervened.

When county jails get to 95 percent capacity, deputies use an algorithm called the matrix to tell them who to release.

The formula is supposed to get rid of low-risk, low-level offenders. Somehow, it identified Oliver as a potential candidate.

The Multnomah County Ssheriff's Office, along with the Multnomah County District Attorney and other county leaders say the formula needs to be changed to prevent his from nearly happening again.

“Now that we're in this unchartered territory… we never expected with someone with a serious person crime such as murder to even come up on the eligibility list, based on the nature of the crime they were booked in on,” said sheriff’s Lt. Marc Shrake.

Jail overpopulation issues have forced the release of 163 people since July of last year.

Jail records show about half of those people have been re-booked.

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