We released a new report on Columbia County Jail’s use of canines to physically control or intimidate inmates experiencing mental illness. In the report, we call for a statewide ban on the practice.
Columbia County is the only Oregon county that permits corrections staff to use canines to extract inmates from their cells. Oregon is one of just six states that allow the practice.
August 2017 Columbia County Jail Incident
This practice captured the public’s attention when graphic video footage from August 2017 showed Columbia County Jail deputies using a canine to violently force an inmate to leave his cell.
This cell extraction came to light after the Columbia County Spotlight newspaper pursued the video record of the incident.
Warning: The video below is graphic.
People with Disabilities at Risk
For inmates with mental illness, the practice poses a double risk of harm.
Corrections officers may be more likely to subject inmates who experience mental illness to a canine attack when they struggle to comply with commands due to a disability.
Inmates who are anxious, overexcited, or delusional may have more difficulty submitting and lying still to avoid being bitten by the canine.