Stop Torture of Mentally Ill Inmates


Target: Michael Gower, Assistant Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections

Goal: Implement safe and humane treatment of mentally ill prisoners.

The Oregon State Penitentiary has recently been investigated under suspicion of illegal methods of torture in its behavioral unit. The unit houses over one hundred inmates with severe mental illnesses and is required to adhere to all state laws regarding medical and mental health care. Demand that the behavioral unit end its inhumane methods of torture and follow all regulations.

The investigation includes shocking inmate interviews, video footage, and detailed records. Many of the inmates have described their desire to be released from solitary confinement and have stopped at nothing to achieve this goal. Records indicate instances in which inmates have been denied necessary medical treatment for hours. Others demonstrate the use of excessive force by employees on a regular basis.

Perhaps the most daunting is the fact that inmates are confined to a single cell for days, sometimes years at a time. Inmates are not allowed to shower, interact with others, or engage in any activity. In some cases, inmates are placed in dry cell status where all water is cut off and personal belongings are removed, including toilet paper and other necessary items.

The conditions of the Oregon State Penitentiary’s behavioral unit are appalling and unacceptable. Very little is being done to protect inmates and inhumane practices are simply exacerbating existing issues. Please sign this petition to demand that the Oregon State Penitentiary begin following all rules and regulations.


Dear Mr. Gower,

The conditions in the behavioral unit of the Oregon State Penitentiary have recently been brought to light and the public is expressing its disgust. Detailed records, footage, and interviews demonstrate blatant disregard for state laws regarding the treatment of inmates. Please reform the behavioral unit at once and vow to follow all rules and regulations to ensure safety for all.

Current conditions include inmates being denied access to running water, proper sanitation, medical treatment, and so many other basic human rights. Inmate needs are not being met and employees are demonstrating a lack of compassion for those with mental illnesses, choosing instead to use excessive force. The use of force should only be reserved for extreme circumstances, rather than as an accepted daily practice.

The culture of violence and force at the Oregon State Penitentiary must end. All prisoners deserve basic human rights, as specifically detailed in Oregon state laws. I urge you to reform the behavioral unit in an effort to maintain a high level of safety for inmates and employees.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Justin Ennis

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