Sheriff's Office News
Inmate Death in Our Jail in 2014

Dear Washington County residents,

Madaline Pitkin died in the Washington County Jail on April 24, 2014. She passed due to complications of chronic intravenous drug abuse. This week, Ms. Pitkin's parents filed a lawsuit against Washington County and Corizon Health Care, the jail's health care provider at that time. While the media is sharing various aspects of her story, I want to share my thoughts with you directly. 

Most important, I believe Ms. Pitkin's death to be a tragedy, and I am very sorry this happened to her. As Sheriff, I accept that this happened on my watch, and that I am responsible to do everything possible to ensure it does not happen again. I want you to know that this is not a case of uncaring jail staff. In fact, deputies contacted Corizon multiple times out of concern for Ms. Pitkin's condition. As a result, she was moved to the jail medical observation unit. We have learned a great deal from this tragedy, and we have already made positive changes.

The county now contracts with a new medical provider, NaphCare, for all jail health services.  NaphCare is an exceptional provider that is patient-focused and attentive. Medical and jail staff work in collaboration like never before, and tremendous efficiency and service improvements have been made possible. The benefits go beyond the borders of our jail.

Inmates, even those in jail only a short time, are receiving full medical assessments and treatment for life-threatening conditions upon arrival. Recently, a newly arrested inmate was diagnosed with active Tuberculosis during an initial medical assessment. Though only in jail a few days, the inmate was quarantined and received treatment. NaphCare staff also coordinated with public health officials during the inmate's incarceration to ensure continuity of care upon release back into the community. Other inmates have been diagnosed with liver disease, kidney failure, and many other chronic care conditions that threaten their lives not only while in jail, but after leaving.

I have been so impressed by the new level of jail medical services, that I was moved to testify at a House Interim Committee on Health Care in Salem. I encouraged support for all Oregon counties to help improve inmate health. Further, I believe it is likely that Washington County will join the family in filing claims against Corizon for this incident.

My staff has asked that we take one additional step to honor Ms. Pitkin's life. The Washington County Sheriff's Office will increase efforts to protect others by educating our community on the dangers and signs of heroin use. I will also continue to advocate for funding locally and statewide for treatment of people struggling with addiction.

On behalf of all the men and women of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, I extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to Ms. Pitkin's family and friends.  


Sincerely,

Sheriff Pat Garrett

The Sheriff's Office Mission and Accreditation

MISSION STATEMENT
Conserving the Peace through Values Driven Service.

ACCREDITATION
Law Enforcement Accreditation by CALEA.
Since 2004; last awarded in November 2016.

Oregon Jail Standards Compliant.
Since 2001; last inspected November 30, 2016, full compliance with all standards.

Jail Healthcare Accreditation by National Commission on Correctional Health Care.
Since 2006; last inspected in February 2016. Our current provider is NaphCare.
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