Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that she had commuted the sentences of 66 incarcerated adults due to the threat of COVID-19. The Oregon Department of Corrections determined that none of the 66 presents an "unacceptable public safety risk."
Of the 66 released, 10 are considered particularly medically vulnerable to the virus, and 56 are within two months of their release date.
This is the second round of prison commutations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, Brown released 57 inmates who were determined to be medically vulnerable. That brings the total number of sentences commuted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to 123.
On Aug. 25, Brown asked corrections to compile a list of prisoners who would be good candidates for release due to their risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19, and the proximity to their release date.
On Sept. 21, the department returned a letter to Brown outlining 74 inmates who fit Brown's criteria. For an undisclosed reason, five inmates declined being reviewed for early release. Out of the 69 remaining, Brown commuted the sentences of 66.
Prison rights advocates have called on Brown to release significantly more prisoners to properly stem the spread of COVID-19. In contrast, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington released 1,000 inmates back in April to mitigate the virus's spread. They've described Brown's commutations as paltry in comparison and insufficient to improve social distancing.
So far, nine adults in custody have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to DOC data. In total, 972 inmates and 258 staff have tested positive for the virus.