Oregon Dept. of Corrections
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News Releases
Mitchell J. Morris
Mitchell J. Morris
Snake River Correctional Institution reports in-custody death - 02/05/21

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody, Mitchell Julio Morris, died the February 5, 2021. Morris was incarcerated at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) in Ontario and passed away in the infirmary. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the Medical Examiner will determine cause of death.

Morris entered DOC custody on March 24, 2017, from Jefferson County and was serving a life sentence. Morris was 25 years old. Next of kin has been notified.

DOC takes all in-custody deaths seriously. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of approximately 13,000 individuals who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state. While crime information is public record, DOC elects to disclose only upon request out of respect for any family or victims.

SRCI is a multi-custody prison in Ontario that houses approximately 3,000 adults in custody. SRCI has multiple special housing units including disciplinary segregation, intensive management, infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care, and an administrative segregation unit. SRCI participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including a contact center, laundry, and sign shop. SRCI specializes in incentive housing, specialized housing, individuals with mental health/medical vulnerabilities, education and trades programs, cognitive and parenting programs, and institution work programs. SRCI opened in 1991 and is the largest correctional institution in the state.

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Attached Media Files: Mitchell J. Morris
Two Rivers Correctional Institution reports in-custody death - 01/29/21

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody (AIC) died January 29, 2021. He was incarcerated at Two Rivers Correctional Institution and passed away at a local hospital. He tested positive for COVID-19 and was between 70 and 80 years old. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the Medical Examiner will determine cause of death. Department-wide, this is the forty-second AIC to die who tested positive for COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 cases inside Oregon’s prisons, please visit DOC’s COVID-19 website. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 13,000 adults in custody who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state. Oregon's prisons have not escaped the devastating impacts of COVID-19. More than half of DOC's incarcerated population have been identified as COVID-19-vulnerable, based on community standard criteria. Generally, incarcerated people are in worse health than their peers in the community, and Oregon has one of the oldest incarcerated populations in the country. DOC employees will continue to work to bring outbreaks under control as positive cases in prisons not only impact employees and AICs, but also the surrounding communities.

Anyone entering DOC property is required to wear a mask or face covering in any indoor work setting or other indoor premises regardless of distance from others unless they are in a private, individual office not shared by anyone else; or they are actively eating or drinking AND at least six (6) feet of distance can be maintained between other people.

Institutions continue to clean and disinfect numerous times a day. DOC asks AICs to report symptoms of COVID-19 to medical staff. Posters are in all DOC institutions encouraging individuals to maintain proper hygiene and to uphold appropriate social distancing to the extent possible. Health screening processes are in place before staff are allowed to enter facilities. This screening includes a temperature check and a screening questionnaire. Visiting remains closed until further notice.

DOC has begun administering COVID-19 vaccinations – eventually offering to all DOC staff, contractors, Oregon Corrections Enterprises employees, and AICs. Prioritization of vaccines is determined by guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Governor’s Office.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, DOC issued a press release when an AIC passed away. This notification would include the person’s name, county of conviction, sentence length, and date of death. However, no cause of death would be listed because the Medical Examiner makes that determination. In order to balance the desire for transparency with our legal obligation to protect personal health information, we have changed the AIC death notification process when someone dies who has tested positive for COVID-19. DOC works with the Oregon Health Authority to publish COVID-19 related data and information on the OHA website.

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