OREGON — A list of 75 names of adults in custody eligible for early release was scheduled to be given to Gov. Kate Brown by the Oregon Department of Corrections on Monday. The DOC planned to provide the list to The World but had not done so as of Monday afternoon.
According to a draft of the list obtained by The Oregonian last week, adults in custody from every correctional institution, including Shutter Creek Correctional Institution, in the state were included.
The releases are to stem continued spread of COVID-19 in Oregon correctional facilities. As of Monday there had been 224 positive cases reported in Oregon correctional facilities between adults in custody and employees. Shutter Creek Correctional Institution outside of North Bend reported 25 positive cases from adults in custody and two positives and one presumptive positive with employees.
“Given what we now know about the disease and its pervasiveness in our communities, it is appropriate to release individuals who face significant health challenges should they contract COVID-19,” Gov. Brown wrote in a letter to DOC director Colette Peters earlier this month.
Brown identified criteria for those that will be released including individuals who: are vulnerable to the disease; have served over half of their sentence; have a place to stay upon release; have not been convicted of a crime against another individual.
Before being released the adults in custody would also be tested for COVID-19; those who test positive or have symptoms would have to wait to be released.
Cases spreading throughout prisons has been an issue across the country. According to the Marshall Project, 46,249 adults in custody across the country have tested positive for COVID-19.
Seemingly separate from this decision, Coos Health and Wellness has been notified of the release of adults in custody into Coos County later this month.
“I don’t know that they are directly tied to the Governor’s order but we have been notified of a few people that are under monitoring that are being released to Coos County. We’re in talks with them. They have to be tested before they are released,” said Coos Health and Wellness epidemiologist Brian Leon, who noted that they would be coming from at least two different facilities.
“I just want to be clear, the reasons we’re getting those notifications is not because Shutter Creek is still an active outbreak, that’s over. But we’re kind of going another step and just making sure who is being released in the area and that we’re following up with them.”