Snake River Correctional Institution reports in-custody death

Oregon Dept. of Corrections

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody, Steven Paul Merry, died the evening of April 1, 2020. Merry was incarcerated at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) in Ontario and passed away in the infirmary, where he’d been on hospice since January. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified. 

Merry entered DOC custody on January 19, 2017, from Douglas County with an earliest release date of February 3, 2027. Merry was 73 years old. Next of kin has been notified.  

DOC takes all in-custody deaths seriously. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 14,500 individuals who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state. While crime information is public record, DOC elects to disclose only upon request out of respect for any family or victims.

SRCI is a multi-custody prison in Ontario that houses approximately 3,000 adults in custody. SRCI has multiple special housing units including disciplinary segregation, intensive management, infirmary (with hospice) with 24-hour nursing care, and an administrative segregation unit. SRCI participates in prison industries with Oregon Corrections Enterprises including a contact center, laundry, and sign shop. SRCI specializes in incentive housing, specialized housing, individuals with mental health/medical vulnerabilities, education and trades programs, cognitive and parenting programs, and institution work programs. SRCI opened in 1991 and is the largest correctional institution in the state.

Steven P. Merry