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Prison evacuation leads to phone call pause for some inmates

September 12, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon corrections officials have confirmed that over 1,300 inmates evacuated from the state women’s prison in Wilsonville were moved to central Oregon.

The Coffee Creek Correctional Facility was evacuated Thursday because of wildfire threats in Marion and Clackamas counties. Inmates are now at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Jennifer Black said there are two facilities at Deer Ridge, one minimum security and one medium security. Men were moved from the medium security facility where they’re usually housed into the minimum security building, which had been vacant. Women from Coffee Creek were moved into the medium security facility.

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Black said the women have access to phones, video calls and tablets, and that the inmates have to initiate the call.

Black said prison staffers are working to set up phone access for men.

Approximately 1,400 other inmates from three other Oregon prisons were evacuated earlier in the week due to fire threats. People from the Santiam Correctional Institution, Mill Creek Correctional Facility and Oregon State Correctional Institution were moved to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

Black said inmates from Santiam and Mill Creek moved back to those facilities Thursday, while inmates from the Oregon State Correctional Institution remain at the state penitentiary.

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