October 27th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Multnomah County, CLEAN UP

Set Free From Jail on Saturday; Overdosed on Monday (Updated with Police Details and Wheeler's Office)



Two men released early on Saturday night for lack of space in the Multnomah County Detention Center have been found dead of a drug overdose, the state Medical Examiner's office has confirmed.

Jamie Daniel Coleman (top photo), 22, and Rex Albert Rumer (bottom photo), 51, were both found dead on Monday, says Damon O'Brien, deputy medical examiner.

O'Brien declined to release further details, including where the two men were found and which drug killed them. But a source tells WW authorities suspect that the two men met in custody and were doing drugs together after their release.

Detective Mary Wheat, spokeswoman for the Portland Police, says the bodies were found in an apartment on the 13400 block of Southeast Stark Street on Monday afternoon. The police Drugs and Vice Division is investigating the deaths in an effort to locate the dealer, Wheat says.

Coleman and Rumer were released early along with 24 other inmates on Saturday night. As reported yesterday on wweek.com, the release was among the largest of the county's so-called "emergency releases" this year.

Such releases were once rampant in the county jails. Then came a 15-month lull starting in the first half of 2008 when no prisoners needed to be released. Some county officials attributed the decline in emergency releases to a drop in crime. But the lull ended in June of this year, when the jails again started to fill to capacity and occasional emergency releases resumed.

Peter Ozanne, county Chair Ted Wheeler's deputy chief operating officer for public safety, called the deaths a "tragedy." He says the incident shows the need for more drug treatment and community supervision.

"The jail bed's a Band-Aid in that context," Ozanne says. "I'd much rather see these people supervised on their release with treatment. That's where I put my money, and that's what I would recommend to the board."

Ozanne added that further cuts in the number of jail beds are possible in the coming months due to lack of funds.
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