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Inmates in prisons and jails are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19 because social distancing measures are difficult to achieve there.

COURTESY MCSO - Inside a Multnomah County jail.COVID-19 has brought major changes to the Oregon's criminal justice system. Many jails across the state have made efforts to reduce the number of inmates in their facilities.

The average daily population of Oregon's county jails has dropped nearly 45% since COVID-19 forced widespread societal changes in March, according to the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association.

Fewer people are being arrested and coming into jails. In some cases, vulnerable people have been released. The sheriffs association said the majority of jails are providing single cells for every inmate.

So far, no inmates in the county jails have tested positive for the virus. But only small number — a total of 17 of the thousands still behind bars — have been tested.

At least four sheriff's deputies either have the virus or are being monitored and quarantined.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read their full story here.


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