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The women's prison in Wilsonville will discuss new flu policy and volunteer opportunities at the meeting

PMG FILE PHOTO - Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the only women's prison in Oregon, is located in Wilsonville.

For the only time this year and the second time ever, the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Prison Advisory Committee is holding a public meeting in the center of the Wilsonville community rather than inside the prison walls.

The citizen advisory group, along with Superintendent Paula Myers and other Coffee Creek staff, will host the meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in the Oak Room of the Wilsonville Public Library.

Along with information about the annual budget, Myers will address recent events that have happened at the only women's prison in Oregon. For instance, she will discuss an incident where a white and powdery substance was delivered to the facility in an envelope and what the facility does to protect staff in these circumstances and provide an update to its flu administration policies. The prison was put in the spotlight in 2018 when an adult in custody (AIC) did not receive a flu shot, contracted the flu and died. The change in policy, where AICs will be given a flu shot unless they decide to opt out of doing so, was brought about by recently passed legislation.

"Our previous system was more, 'If you want it, come and get it,' kind of like in the (outside) community. In our environment (AICs say) 'It was never offered to me. They never gave it to me,'" Myers said. "This is an acknowledgment that 'I'm here today to give you a flu shot. Do you want this?'"

Myers and other prison staff will also provide information about job openings and volunteer opportunities, such as the Coffee Creek Quilters program, at the prison.

"From a career standpoint, if I'm really interested in finding a career within the department of corrections, it's an excellent opportunity to hear all the different jobs we have that are available," Myers said. "People tend to think of a facility as (correctional) officers, but we have health services, food services."

She also said those with a loved one incarcerated at the facility can learn more about the prison's policies and services.

"It's an opportunity to learn more about the facility." Myers sad.

Myers said the committee includes people who volunteer at the prison, women who were formerly incarcerated, members of the Rotary Club of Wilsonville and others (Spokesman Editor Leslie Hole is also on the committee). At meetings, prison staff present various issues and the committee comments on them.

"We have the benefit of PAC members who also volunteer in the facility. They will help us keep an eye on the temperature of the facility, the things that are happening. They may talk to things with AICs that they don't talk to us about," Myers said.

The committee normally holds meetings inside the prison and Myers said the purpose of moving the meeting to the library is to attract more people to attend.

"It's not an open campus so you have to have permission to come in (to attend a meeting inside the prison). You have to go through security to attend this meeting," Myers said. "Having it once a year at the library gives us the opportunity to showcase what's happening at the facility and possibly attract other volunteers that want to be members of the PAC committee."

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