Since 2008, at least 306 people across the Northwest have died after being taken to a county jail – a figure that, until an investigation released last week, was unknown because Oregon and Washington do not track county jail deaths.
At least 70 percent of these people were awaiting trial. These jail deaths are preventable, too, as the leading cause of death is suicide. A patchwork of reporting systems has left jail deaths underreported and jail administrators unaccountable. Additionally, it’s getting worse: over the past 10 years, jail deaths have consistently increased in Oregon and Washington.
Summarized by Jacob Koffler