Watchdog says state prison may miss target for reforms

A report released by a watchdog group says an Oregon prison facility housing mentally ill inmates isn’t fixing problems fast enough to meet a timeline agreed to by the state, according to a report released by a watchdog group.

While some of the worst conditions have been fixed, advocates say the state isn’t making enough progress to complete s a top priority: Ending de facto solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates by allowing them at least 20 hours per week outside of their cells.

Disability Rights Oregon released the report Tuesday.

At the center of the controversy is the Behavioral Health Unit, part of the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. The facility houses inmates who are separated from other prisoners, often because of behaviors associated with severe mental illness.