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News Releases
Capital Toastmasters
Capital Toastmasters
Toastmasters Club debates college students at Oregon State Penitentiary (Photo) - 04/28/17

The Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) Toastmasters Club hosted a debate with Linfield and Lewis & Clark Colleges on Friday April 7, 2017. The topic was privatized prisons versus Government-run prisons. Each college provided one team (two people and a judge), and the OSP club provided two teams made up of adults in custody and local community members. Each team was made aware of the topic 15 minutes prior to the debate. It was a spirited and entertaining discussion and, in the end, one of the OSP teams arguing in favor of the state prison system pulled off a close win.

The Capital Toastmasters Club provides a mutually supportive and positive learning environment where every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn fosters self-confidence and personal growth. Members consist of men at OSP as well as people from the community. Toastmasters is about people helping people learn, regardless of where they live. The club offers multiple learning opportunities in preparation for re-entry to society, while building personal confidence and breaking patterns of negative behavior.

Debating utilizes a combination of communication, listening, and thinking skills. Each summer, Professor Dr. Jackson Miller from Linfield College teaches a Parliamentary debate class to Capital Toastmasters. Graduates of the class compete in debates against college students throughout the year, including a large debate tournament with 16 college teams from around the world.

To learn more about the Capital Toastmasters Club, or to schedule a visit, please call (503) 378-2289 or email courtney.d.mcfadden@doc.state.or.us.

OSP is a multi-custody prison located in Salem that houses over 2,000 male inmates. OSP is surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers. The facility has multiple special housing units including death row, disciplinary segregation, behavioral health, intermediate care housing, and an infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care. OSP participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including the furniture factory, laundry, metal shop, and contact center. It provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, work-based education, inmate work crews, and pre-release services. OSP was established in 1866 and, until 1959, was Oregon's only prison.

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Oregon State Penitentiary Narcotics Anonymous club donates to Central City Concern - 04/18/17

Earlier this year, a devastating fire blazed through several floors of a low-income housing building, Hotel Alder, in downtown Portland, displacing 92 people.

When Oregon State Penitentiary Narcotics Anonymous Club President, inmate Eric Nitschke, heard of the tragedy, he headed up a fundraiser in an effort to raise money for Hotel Alder. The building is operated by Central City Concern (CCC), whose mission is to end homelessness and help people achieve their highest potential through housing, health and recovery, employment, and peer support.

Hotel Adler suffered severe damage and displaced dozens of residents during the January fire. Adults in custody at OSP raised $1,271 to assist with rent, food, and clothing. The Hotel Alder residents are scheduled to move back into their homes in the next six to eight months. In the meantime, CCC has found temporary shelter for all the tenants.

OSP is a multi-custody prison located in Salem that houses over 2,000 male inmates. OSP is surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers. The facility has multiple special housing units including death row, disciplinary segregation, behavioral health, intermediate care housing, and an infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care. OSP participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including the furniture factory, laundry, metal shop, and contact center. It provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, work-based education, inmate work crews, and pre-release services. OSP was established in 1866 and, until 1959, was Oregon's only prison.


Oregon Live article covering the fire: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/01/hotel_alder_residents_will_be.html

KOIN 6 article covering the fire: http://koin.com/2017/01/04/3-alarm-fire-burning-at-hotel-alder/

Central City Concern website: http://www.centralcityconcern.org/

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Out_of_the_Darkness.png
Out_of_the_Darkness.png
Santiam Correctional Institution raises awareness for suicide prevention (Photo) - 04/13/17

Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) is raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The Out of the Darkness Community Walk at SCI will be the first of its kind in the Nation. The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) is breaking barriers by uniting staff, the community, and adults in custody (AIC) toward the same cause.

SCI has been very active in working with the community, including raising money for non-profits such as Wounded Warrior Project, Darian's Gift, and now the AFSP. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, SCI will hold its very own Out of the Darkness Community Walk. This particular walk is unique as it is inside of the prison gates and - although the walk itself is not open to the general public - staff, AICs, and AFSP volunteers will walk to help remember those lost to suicide and raise awareness for suicide prevention. The SCI walk will create a sense of unity in a place of confinement, while benefiting AFSP with much needed funds.

SCI staff and AICs are participating in a fundraising challenge for AFSP. If you would like to contribute to either team at SCI, please visit the following links:

o To donate to the Santiam Correctional Institution adult in custody group: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1223459
o To donate to the Santiam Correctional Institution staff group: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=1223456

You can also go to the AFSP website and search for the Salem Community Walk to find the SCI team page.

According to a 2009 New Jersey State Police Task Force Study, Correctional Officers have a suicide rate twice as high as the rate of police officers and the general population. According to MedicalDaily.com, released inmates are eight times more likely to die by suicide than the national average. Suicide knows no race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or religion.

An AIC at SCI brought forward the idea of having the Out of the Darkness Community Walk. This is his story. George lost his father to suicide at the age of two. Around the age of 16, his older sister told him, "I think you are old enough to know now that dad didn't die in a car accident -- he died by suicide." This conversation was short, and because of the trauma associated with her experience, his sister had to write out the story of their father in letters. It was too difficult to speak about in person. His sister made him promise not to tell their mother she had told him the truth. George had not spoken to his mother about knowing the truth until he was 21 years old. For years, he felt lied to and betrayed by his own family, which manifested into the negative actions that eventually drove him to prison at the age of 22. George didn't understand how to deal with the truth about his father. He was left confused and didn't know where to go for support. After becoming incarcerated, George corresponded with his mother and sister over the years via letters and phone calls, realizing how traumatizing the suicide must have been for them. George discovered his passion for helping with prevention efforts and the people affected by suicide while incarcerated.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's main objectives are funding scientific research, providing education to professionals, raising awareness, informing the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention, advocating for government legislation to promote suicide prevention efforts, and providing resources for families and individuals affected by suicide. According to their website (afsp.org), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. For every suicide, there have been 25 attempts, and suicide costs the U.S. $44 billion annually. SCI, DOC, and those incarcerated look to join together and raise awareness for this cause and AFSP programs.

SCI is a minimum-security prison in Salem that houses approximately 440 male inmates who are within four years of release. The facility concentrates on work opportunities, most of which are in the form of work crews contracting with state agencies, local organizations, and private industries within a 60-mile radius of Salem. SCI provides a range of other correctional programs and services including education, transition programs, and religious services. The building that is now SCI was constructed in 1946 and originally was used as an annex to the Oregon State Hospital for mental health patients. Over the years it was used for a variety of correctional purposes until, in 1990, it opened as SCI.

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Attached Media Files: Out_of_the_Darkness.png
Louis Darnell Walls
Louis Darnell Walls
Oregon State Penitentiary reports inmate death (Photo) - 04/11/17

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) inmate died unexpectedly Monday morning of apparent natural causes at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. As with all unanticipated deaths in state prisons, the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation.

At approximately 12:20 a.m., Monday, April 10, 2017, Louis Walls, 51, was found unresponsive in his cell. Medical staff began life-saving efforts to no avail. He was pronounced deceased at 12:55 a.m.

Walls entered DOC custody on September 19, 2013 on one count of arson in the first degree out of Jackson County. His earliest release date was October 26, 2020.

Next of kin has been notified. No other details are available at this time.

OSP is Oregon's only maximum-security prison, located in Salem, and houses over 2,000 male inmates. OSP is surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers. The facility has multiple special housing units including death row, disciplinary segregation, behavioral health, intermediate care housing, and an infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care. OSP participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including the furniture factory, laundry, metal shop, and contact center. It provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, work-based education, inmate work crews, and pre-release services. OSP was established in 1866 and, until 1959, was Oregon's only prison.

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Attached Media Files: Louis Darnell Walls
Oregon State Penitentiary on lockdown - 04/09/17

On April 9, 2017, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Oregon State Penitentiary staff responded to an inmate fight located in a recreation area of the institution. Staff administered chemical spray to control the situation. Multiple inmates have been escorted to disciplinary segregation. Approximately 20 inmates were involved in the altercation.

The Penitentiary has been placed on lockdown. All activities and visiting have been canceled until further notice. No major injuries of staff or inmates were reported.

The incident is currently under investigation.

OSP is a multi-custody prison located in Salem that houses over 2,000 male inmates. OSP is surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall with 10 towers. The facility has multiple special housing units including death row, disciplinary segregation, behavioral health, intermediate care housing, and an infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care. OSP participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including the furniture factory, laundry, metal shop, and contact center. It provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, work-based education, inmate work crews, and pre-release services. OSP was established in 1866 and, until 1959, was Oregon's only prison.

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Michael Louis Shaw
Michael Louis Shaw
Two Rivers Correctional Institution reports inmate death (Photo) - 04/07/17

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) inmate died unexpectedly Friday morning of apparent natural causes at a Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla. As with all unanticipated deaths in state prisons, the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an investigation.

At approximately 5:45 a.m., Friday, April 7, 2017, Michael Shaw, 52, was found unresponsive in his bed. Medical staff began life-saving efforts to no avail. He was pronounced deceased at 6:32 a.m.

Shaw entered DOC custody on July 16, 2002, on one count of sex abuse in the first degree and one count of mistreatment in the first degree out of Marion County. His earliest release date was September 28, 2025.

Next of kin has been notified. No other details are available at this time.

TRCI is a multi-custody prison in Umatilla that houses approximately 1,800 male inmates. TRCI participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including institution and industrial laundry, mattress manufacturing, and sewing. Other institution work programs include reparation and cleaning of irrigation ditches, maintenance of local baseball fields, and work with local cities and the Hermiston School District. The facility provides a range of correctional programs and services including education, religious services, and behavioral health services. TRCI opened in 2000.

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Attached Media Files: Michael Louis Shaw