Five of the 57 inmates in state prisons who will be released early due to their vulnerability to the coronavirus are incarcerated at the Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City.
Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday that she would commute the sentences of the 57 inmates.
All of the affected Powder River inmates were convicted of crimes in counties other than Baker County. The minimum-security facility has about 347 inmates.
Inmates were reviewed individually based on these criteria, according to a press release from the governor’s office:
• Are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as identified by Oregon Department of Corrections medical staff
• Are not serving a sentence for a person crime
• Have served at least 50% of their sentence
• Have a record of good conduct for the past 12 months
• Have their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and adequately addressed
• Do not present an unacceptable safety, security or compliance risk to the community
Of the 57 inmates whose sentences the governor will commute, 13 already have housing arranged after their release, and their commutations will start once the inmate has tested negative for COVID-19. None of those 13 inmates is at Powder River.
The remaining 44 inmates, including the five at Powder River, won’t begin the commutation process until Corrections Department officials have confirmed their housing plans. Those inmates will also have to test negative for the virus. Inmates generally return to the county where they were convicted and are not released in the county where they are incarcerated, said Betty Bernt, a spokesperson for the Corrections Department. None of the 57 inmates approved for early release will be released in Baker County.
The inmates whose sentences are commuted will still be subject to post-prison supervision. Time remaining on each inmate’s original prison sentence will be added to their post-prison supervision sentence.
Summaries of the five Powder River inmates who qualified for early release.
Donald Ray Gregg
Gregg, 62, has been an inmate at Powder River since July 31, 2018. His earliest release date, prior to the governor’s announcement, is Nov. 30, 2020.
Gregg was convicted in Josephine County of delivery of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Hawthorne, 60, has been incarcerated at Powder River since Dec. 17, 2013. His earliest previous release date is Dec. 7, 2020.
Hawthorne was convicted in Marion County on two counts of identity theft, four counts of first-degree forgery and three counts of identity theft.
Ibarra, 42, has been at Powder River since Oct. 23, 2018. His previous earliest release date is Oct. 6, 2020.
Ibarra was convicted in Marion County for delivery of methamphetamines.
Sterr, 61, has been an inmate at Powder River since June 6, 2019. His previous earliest release date is Feb. 2, 2021.
Sterr was convicted in Hood River County of felony driving under the influence of intoxicants
Brian Keith Turnipseed
Turnipseed, 61, has been at Powder River since May 23, 2019. His previous earliest release date is Oct. 6, 2020.
Turnipseed was convicted in Jackson County of manufacturing methamphetamines near a school.