In this time of mass incarceration, you very likely do. And if so, you might share my sadness and frustration that several state prisons are currently experiencing new COVID outbreaks, with inmates having to again quarantine, with no yard time, no visitations, and having to eat sub-grade meals in their cells or dorms. Since prisons are closed systems, you might wonder how COVID (like meth and other contraband) finds its way into Oregon prisons. Particularly in places like Pendleton (Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution), Madras (Deer Ridge Correctional Institution), Ontario (Snake River Correctional Institution), and others, many corrections officers, administrative staffers, and even medical and dental staff continue to refuse to wear their mandatory N95 masks correctly, with many simply wearing them around their necks. In addition, screening of inmates in transport (for fevers or other COVID-like symptoms) has been all but eliminated at most ODOC facilities. Several Oregon inmates have died from COVID, and sadly many more are at risk of a similar fate, simply because the Oregon Department of Corrections refuses to reprimand or discipline state employees who continue to deny science, flaunt mask and vaccine mandates, and put our friends and loved ones at risk. At this point, all we can hope for is the success of attorney Juan Chavez' class action suit against Governor Brown and Oregon DOC for endangering the lives of women and men who cannot defend themselves against feckless, ignorant, abusive state employees.
Have a friend or loved one in an Oregon prison?
The views expressed in these submissions are from anonymous, unverified sources and do not necessarily represent those of the Portland Mercury.