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Apr 23, 20

Phone-Zap Oregon COVID-19 Campaign

Call for a phone-zap campaign in so-called Oregon to free prisoners in the face of the spread of COVID-19.

In light of the unprecedented health crisis that is COVID-19, we are calling on Kate Brown to take immediate action to keep people currently being held in Oregon jails, prisons, and detention centers safe. Last week, the Oregon Department of Corrections released a report saying 5,800 inmates would have to be released from state facilities to allow for adequate social distancing inside. The report also states that 4,338 people will be released within the next year anyway. We know that these facilities are breeding grounds for the spread of diseases, as exhibited by recent massive outbreaks in prisons and jails in Ohio and Illinois, and believe there is no excuse for the Governor to keep dragging her feet on early release, especially as she holds Oregon up as an example of responsible and timely action on COVID-19. Allowing the conditions for another potential virus hotspot to fester in our state does nothing to keep our communities safe.

Never done a phone zap before, or unsure of what to say? That’s not a problem! Feel free to use this script, or modify it however you need to feel comfortable! Just remember to speak calmly and clearly, be polite, and make sure to note who you’re talking to! When you’re done, send us an email at [email protected] to let us know how it went! That way, we can get an idea of how effective we’re being, and what our next steps will be. Thanks for your help!

Phone Script

Hi, my name is (your name here). I am a concerned citizen calling on behalf of prisoners in the Oregon Department of Corrections system. I am aware that Kate Brown has decided not to release the 5800 prisoners the Oregon Department of Corrections has said would need to be released to allow for adequate social distancing to curb the spread of COVID 19 in prisons and jails. This is deeply troubling, especially considering that as of now the top hotspot for the virus is in a prison, Marion CI in Ohio. I also know that those detained are not receiving supplies needed to protect themselves from this virus. Keeping people in these dangerous conditions is not making our communities safer. I am calling to demand you:

1. Immediately release all prisoners or detainees with underlying conditions, including immuno-compromised and pregnant prisoners and those over 60, as well as all prisoners who are within a year of finishing their sentences.

2. Release the people convicted as children who have served over half their sentences under ORS 420a.203.

3. Give all prisoners access to adequate personal protective equipment including masks and gloves, as well as sanitizing supplies (bleach, soap, and hand sanitizer).

4. Give all prisoners at least one free 15-minute telephone call per day to compensate for the denial of visitation rights.

5. Institute a moratorium on new intakes into Oregon prisons.

6. Make commissary free for all prisoners for the duration of this health crisis.

Phone Numbers to Call

1. Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon: 503-378-4582, Select #3 to leave a comment.

2. Jennifer Andrew, Assistant to Nik Blosser, Governor’s Chief of Staff: 503-373-1565.

3. Jessica Freeburn, Executive Assistant to Colette Peters, Director of  OR Dept. of Corrections: 503-945-0978.

Who We Are

The Siskiyou Abolition Project is a prison abolition collective based in the beautiful Siskiyou Mountains of so-called Southern Oregon. We got our start in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but our intent is to continue working together to support prisoners in struggle beyond the end of this crisis. We strive for a world without prisons, and are organizing towards an end to the conditions that create them. You can stay in touch with us at [email protected], or on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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