MADRAS, Ore. (AP) — A high ranking prison official at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras has been placed on leave amid a personnel investigation, the Department of Corrections confirmed Monday.
Assistant Superintendent of Security Jason Jorgensen is now on “duty stationed at home” with pay, a Corrections spokeswoman told Oregon Public Broadcasting.
The circumstances surrounding the investigation date back to last month, when Oregon evacuated four prisons and thousands of inmates during wildfires that ravaged the state.
On Sept. 10, men in the medium security portion of the Deer Ridge prison were moved to the minimum security section of the prison to make room for over 1,000 inmates, mostly women, from Coffee Creek Correctional Institution who evacuated from the Santiam and Riverside fires.
The men at Deer Ridge protested and on Sept. 11, some 200 inmates refused to move from the yard to their new cells in the minimum security portion of the prison, Corrections officials said in a news release at the time.
Corrections officials said its crisis negotiating team was deployed and that no force was used and no one was hurt. But 12 inmates who refused to leave the yard were “placed in special housing and transferred to another institution,” officials said.
“The protesting (inmates) demanded changes to emergency operations, citing the poor air quality from wildfires, temporary lack of access to phones, and other disruptions” caused by the evacuation, officials said in the news release last month. “An ongoing investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the incident.”
Corrections officials said they couldn’t share specific details about Jorgensen’s case, citing the ongoing investigation.