Death of mentally ill inmate called preventable

The Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday, June 25, approved the early release of 57 state prisoners deemed medically vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, which has spread throughout correctional facilities in Oregon around the country.

The decision comes two weeks after Brown said she would consider commuting the sentences of some inmates to help limit the spread of the deadly disease in the state prison system, where more than 200 prisoners and staff have already tested positive for COVID-19.

One of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the state has occurred at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

State corrections officials this week submitted a list of 61 candidates for commutation to Brown’s office based on a list of criteria outlined by the governor.

In a statement, Brown said none of the inmates granted early release were convicted of a crime against another person, and all of them have served at least half of their sentences.

They also had a good conduct record for the past 12 months, a suitable housing plan for release and “do not present an unacceptable public safety risk,” the governor said.

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