PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than three months after Governor Kate Brown issued a state of emergency due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, she has now asked the state Department of Corrections to assess which incarcerated individuals are vulnerable to the virus and can be released.
In a letter to the DOC on Friday, the governor said that while the department had “implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to manage suspected and confirmed cases…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.”
Brown outlined seven criteria that each person in custody must meet in order to be eligible for early release. In her letter to the DOC, she requested a list of eligible inmates by June 22.
- Be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as identified by DOC medical staff
- Not be serving a sentence for a person crime
- Have served at least 50% of their sentence
- Have a record of good conduct for the last 12 months
- Have a suitable housing plan
- Have their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and adequately addressed
- Not present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community
People who meet these criteria will also have to take a COVID-19 test prior to their release.
The decision comes a day after Brown “pressed paused” on county advancements through the state’s phased reopening approach. There have been two days this past week where Oregon recorded its most-ever daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent days has been largely attributed to workplace outbreaks, more testing, and increased contact tracing.
Read the governor’s letter to the Department of Corrections: