Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Could Release 400 Prisoners for Virus Fears as Nightly Riots Continue in Portland

0
129

“Given what we now know about the disease and its pervasiveness in our communities, it is appropriate to review for potential release individuals who face significant health challenges should they contract COVID-19,” Brown wrote in a letter to Colette Peters, administrator of the state’s prison system.

Portland police arrest a protester after dispersing a crowd of about 150 people from Portland City Hall in Portland, Oregon. Crowds chanted in support of Kenosha Wisconsin on the 90th night of protests Tuesday, where demonstrations have continued for days following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Brown’s concern for prisoners seems in stark contrast to the reality of her state’s second largest city facing nightly riots that have resulted in ongoing injuries to police officers and the destruction of innocent people’s property. And large crowds gathering every night also pose the risk of spreading the virus.

Oregon Live reported on Brown considering putting prisoners into communities:

The plan is significantly more expansive than Brown’s previous pandemic-related commutations. To date, the governor has commuted the sentences of 57 people due to the virus.

In a letter sent to the director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, Brown said those eligible for commutation also must meet other criteria, such as good conduct for the past 12 months. They cannot be doing time for crimes against other people.

Inmates deemed by the Department of Corrections as an “unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community” will not be released even if they fall into one of the categories the governor has outlined, Brown wrote in her letter.

Brown has asked for a list of “eligible” inmates to be given to her office by September 18.

Three prison inmates have died from the coronavirus among 634 confirmed cases and 177 of those cases are correction workers, according to Oregon Live.

Portland police arrest a protester after dispersing a crowd of about 150 from Portland City Hall early in the morning on August 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Crowds chanted in support of Kenosha Wisconsin on the 90th night of protests Tuesday, where demonstrations have continued for days following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter