The Oregon Senate passed a bill 28-0 on Wednesday that would require county jails to provide the state information about their in-custody populations and details about the healthcare inmates receive.
The bill “directs the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to conduct studies on local and regional correctional facility data collection and provision of health care.”
House Bill 3289 previously passed the House. The bill heads next to Gov. Kate Brown, who hasn’t indicated whether she’ll sign it.
More In This Series
During the course of the next year, OPB, KUOW and the Northwest News Network are teaming up to report on the epidemic of deaths at Northwest jails in our ongoing series “Booked and Buried.”
1) Northwest Jails’ Mounting Death Toll
2) Dead But Not Convicted
3) Suicide Is The Leading Cause Of Death In NW Jails
4) His Son Died In Jail. Seeking Change, He Found An Ally In The Man Who Now Runs It.
5) Washington Jail Practices Put At-Risk Inmates In More Danger, Not Less
6) Oregon Governor Signs Bill To Track Info About Jail Inmates
7) 2 Deaths Highlight Risk For Native American Inmates In NW Jails
Oregon doesn’t comprehensively track information about inmates in county jails.
In April, OPB, KUOW and the Northwest News Network released an investigation that found since 2008, at least 306 people died after being taken to a county jail in Oregon or Washington.
That information was previously unknown.
The news organizations also found that many of those who died had not been convicted of a crime and the leading cause of death was suicide.
The bill directs the state’s Criminal Justice Commission to collect the data from local jails.
The Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association has testified in support of the legislation, but also noted there is no statewide unified computer system for jails, making data collection a challenge.