Willamette Week, June 19, 1996, p. 11


Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle knows there is more than one way to keep crooks behind bars. Since he was elected last year, he has made big promises to end the matrix system, which each year puts thousands of inmates on the streets before their time is up because of jail overcrowding. It was an impressive promise with a heavy hammer: Noelle harped on the horrors of the matrix system to help convince voters to approve a jail bond and levy to build more cells. Now the sheriff has pulled another trick out of his holster: He plans to ask U.S. Chief District Judge James Redden to lift the cap Redden imposed on the county jail in 1987, which started the matrix system in the first place. Though Redden has shown no indication of reversing himself, Noelle might be aided by Congress. Since the cap was imposed, Congress has passed two laws that make it more difficult for inmates to sue because of overcrowding.

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