Oregon Department of Corrections to eliminate death row

Oregon

Only 2 inmates executed in past 50 years

generic file Oregon State Penitentiary sign, department of corrections

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Corrections announced Friday it is eliminating the state’s death row section of incarceration.

Prisons officials say the elimination of the space that houses death row does not mean inmates’ death sentences will change, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Dissolving death row reflects the department’s decision to begin making individualized housing decisions regarding people sentenced to death, and a decrease in the numbers of those people.

“This really is an operational decision, in line with some of the humanity and normalcy work that we’ve been doing, as we look at reducing the use of segregation,” DOC Director Colette Peters told OPB. “Truly, we believe there are a handful of those individuals that can safety be housed in general population.”

Death row inmates live largely together in a unit at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

In the last 50 years, Oregon has executed two death row inmates. There are currently 29 inmates in Oregon sentenced to die — all of whom will be moved to general populations and other housing units in the state’s six maximum security prisons, according to OPB.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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