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Take Action against Electronic Weapons in Prison August 7, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) wants to use 50,000 volts of electricity as a weapon against people in prison. The DOC is proposing a change in its rules that includes in its security equipment list guns that shoot darts connected to electrical wires that can repeatedly deliver 50,000 volts of electricity into a person’s body. The electronic weapons, known by the brand name of Taser or Nova Spirit, are most commonly used in police departments, but they are increasingly being used in jails and prisons as a way of gaining compliance from prisoners.

Click here to read the proposed changes to the Department of Corrections Use of Force rules.


The Department of Corrections currently uses electronic shields and has an older model of an electronic gun in its arsenal. The newer electronic projectile weapons are much more likely to hit their targets than older models, and they’ve proven themselves to be deadly weapons. More than 220 people have died after being shot with electronic weapons.

Click here to read Amnesty International’s 2006 report about electronic weapons.


The Oregon Department of Corrections should not use these weapons, which they call electronic control devices, on incarcerated people. The use of electronic weapons by the police is intended to replace deadly force, and this is very controversial because people have died after being hit by the weapons. But under the DOC’s proposed rules, and in practice in other prisons and jails in the US, electronic weapons are a part of a list of devices used to force prisoners to comply with orders. There are documented cases in which electronic weapons in prisons and jails have been used on people with mental illnesses and people in handcuffs. In one jail, the weapon was used at least thirty times in seven months.

Action Needed:

Tell the Department of Corrections that these disturbing and potentially deadly weapons should not be used on people confined in prison. When you click the “act now” button, you will find a sample email message to Max Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, and Ms. Birdie Worley, DOC Rules Coordinator.

Deadline for responding: The deadline for comments on the proposed rules change is August 25.




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