Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home, Portland, Oregon
April 1, 2020
An unspecified “disturbance” occurred on the evening of Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home (JDH) in Portland.
According to a press release from the Multnomah County Juvenile Services Division, “Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies and command staff arrived at the detention center within minutes and were able to quickly defuse the situation with verbal commands. There are no reported injuries to any youth, staff or deputies at this time.”
Multnomah County Spokesperson Jessica Morkert-Shibley was unable to comment on the motivations of the youth detainees and stated that the details were most likely under investigation. Morkert-Shibley did assert that there are currently no cases of COVID-19 inside the facility and that the county always works to find alternatives to youth detention whenever possible.
The disturbance occurs amidst a growing outbreak of COVID-19 within jails, prisons and detention centers nationwide as the virus spreads easily within the close quarters of incarceration. Oregon has 826 reported cases of COVID-19 at the time of this writing with 21 reported deaths. Multnomah County has 26 reported cases. On Thursday, a prisoner at the Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem tested positive for COVID-19.
A recording of what appears to be a Portland Police and Multnomah County Sheriff dispatcher reporting the incident was leaked on Twitter. The voice in the recording states, “Information for anybody who might think about taking a juvenile to JDH. They are having a riot.. And… Uh.. It looks like we have a dedicated dispatcher for them. Umm just information for us. 1913.”
Last night the youth rioted inside a pdx detention center pic.twitter.com/R3IWE8z2xL
— Matcha chai (@matcha_chai) April 3, 2020
In December 2019, an annual grand jury review of Multnomah County’s corrections facilities suggested various improvements of JDH, including addressing racial disparities (68% of the population is youth of color), increasing parental involvement by making parent orientation occur more frequently, and improvements in pedagogy at the JDH educational programming.
“Multnomah County Juvenile Services Division investigating disturbance at detention center“, Multnomah County, Press Release, April 1, 2020.
“Regional COVID-19 updates: 2 deaths, 90 new cases in Oregon“, KOIN, April 2, 2020.
Jessica Morkert-Shibley, Multnomah County Communications Office, Personal Interview, April 3, 2020.
Article Published: 4/3/2020
Header Photo Source: The Cardinal Times