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The Growing Elderly Population of Oregon’s Prisons and Early Medical Release

Jake Procino ‘21 and Layce Yamauchi’21 researched the growing elderly population inside of Oregon’s prisons, and the extensive consequences that come out of serving such a long sentence. Prison sentences, both long and short, are proven to cause serious health problems and reduce one’s life expectancy. The elderly population is by far more likely to be affected by health risks, making them the most costly demographic to house in prison. While this population is not only vulnerable to a variety of life-altering illnesses and medical conditions, they’ve also aged out of crime, making it questionable why the state continues to keep them inside when they pose little to no public safety risk.

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Storytellers Event

The Storytellers Event was the largest event held inside of the Oregon State Penitentiary. There were almost 100 attendees who came to witness incarcerated men speak about their life stories, their transformation, and why they believe they could now make positive changes and impacts in their communities if they were to be set free. Anthony, Kyle, Randall, Sterling, Terrence, Rob, and Troy are the names of the men who spoke about the challenges they faced both before and during their incarceration. They all shared incredible examples of how they’ve been atoning for the crimes that they committed while inside prison. All of their stories are truly remarkable and they are each living proof that people can redeem themselves and show that they have transformed into more peaceful and compassionate individuals if given the opportunity to do so. This event was organized by a man named Jeremy Hays who is a nonprofit consultant in Portland, Oregon. Jeremy has been very involved in volunteering with OSP and was extremely successful in organizing such a remarkable and impactful event.


“I was filled with pain and anger.”

“I challenged myself to make positive changes in my life . . . I want to bring value to myself as well as to others.”


“He whispered in my ear, ‘Kyle, you’re a good man.’ He was the first adult to ever say that to me, and it was in prison.” - Talking about caring for another adult in custody on hospice care inside OSP.

“I chose to be a force for change in prison and it wasn’t easy.”


“Spending more time in prison than I have been free for a crime is not easy. It’s been a struggle, not only for me but for my loved ones . . . I try to give my advice to people going home, hoping that they never come back.”

“If I can’t control the outcome of my future, I can at least control that right now I’ll do something greater than me.” - Talking about his volunteer work for the hospice program.


“I set out to be the best person I can be, starting with character development. I committed to nonviolence, made vows of authenticity, took every class and self-help group available, and after I took them all I created and facilitated new ones. I began using my personal influence to benefit others, through peacemaking circles and mentoring younger guys . . .I began to care about people actively and began honoring the sanctity of life. I began to practice love in a place where it’s only considered a four-letter word.”

“It is possible to transform one’s heart and soul. It is possible to redeem who you are . . . No matter how horrible the actions of one’s past may be, it doesn’t prevent one’s ability to do good in the present.”

“Speak happiness, be a light, love everybody.”

Willamette University

Department of Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics

Smullin Hall 3rd floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6293 voice
503-370-6720 fax