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Booked And Buried: Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Incomplete data tracking hides a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened Northwest jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe.

While deaths resulting from police shootings or violent arrests have become the focus of calls for criminal justice reform, the vast majority of jail deaths still go largely unexamined. In 2018, police shot and killed 39 people between Oregon and Washington, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. For that same year, our investigation found 39 deaths in Oregon and Washington county jails.

At least 70 percent of Northwest inmates who died in the past decade were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths, still considered innocent under the law.

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