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Jail policy change overdue

It's only sensible to conduct a national background check on people who are jailed in Multnomah County and therefore are candidates for early release due to overcrowding.

After seven months, Multnomah County officials finally overcame their own internal squabbles last week and agreed to a policy requiring such criminal-history checks on all inmates taken into county jails.

The new policy was prompted by the case of Richard 'Red' Koehrsen, who was released from a county jail in January, only to be charged two days later with stabbing a transient to death. At the time, a Portland Tribune records search uncovered information about Koehrsen that county officials were unaware of - that he had a decades-long history of violence.

The policy change implemented by the sheriff and Department of Community Justice is long overdue, but we hope it can prevent the release of the county's most dangerous offenders in the future.