EUGENE, Ore. -- Dozens gathered outside the Lane County Corrections Division Friday in a socially-distanced protest demanding the release of those in custody.
In their cars and on their bicycles, the protesters circled around the jail for an hour, loudly calling for change.
The protest was held just days after an inmate who had tested positive for coronavirus died while in Oregon Department of Corrections custody.
Avery Temple, one of the protest organizers, believes keeping people incarcerated goes against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's social distancing guidelines. Temple said this is not only a human rights issue but also a public health matter imperative for the entire community.
"Because of the pandemic, we basically see these sentences as death sentences to those who are incarcerated because they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus,” said Temple. “It is impossible to stay socially distant in prison. Also in the US we don't have adequate testing."
We reached out to the Lane County Sheriff's Office to try to find more information about how many people are incarcerated in the Lane County Jail and if there has been a positive test for COVID-19. Unfortunately, we were unable to arrange an interview on Friday.
In the announcement of the inmate's death, the DOC said they have put multiple precautions in place in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.