About Us

Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ) is a multi-faceted, statewide advocacy organization based in Portland, Oregon. PSJ was originally founded in 1999.

We have developed a pioneering and provocative model for our work – one that works with all of those most directly affected by crime, violence and the criminal justice system (survivors of crime, people convicted of crime, and the families of both) – to advocate for a system that is just and that more effectively builds safer, healthier communities. This approach offers a holistic perspective needed for comprehensive and effective change.

We believe it is time for a more effective and fiscally-responsible approach to public safety – an approach that focuses on prevention, curbs the unsustainable growth of our prison system, invests in evidence-based programs that are proven to reduce crime, and strengthens support systems and services for people harmed by crime. Crime and public safety are complicated social issues and we need smart solutions, not oversimplified approaches promoted by fear or frustration.

Partnership for Safety and Justice works hard to ensure our values drive our work. And we search for policies that embody all of our values simultaneously. We strive to ensure Oregon’s approach to public safety is based on the principles of safety, prevention, accountability, healing, rehabilitation, and justice.

Recent Accomplishments

2013 was a strong year for PSJ. One of our major accomplishments was ensuring the passage of HB 3194, a comprehensive public safety reform package. The reforms are projected to flatline prison growth over the next five years and generate over $300 million of savings. What to do with those savings is a core focus of the "Justice Reinvestment" approach that PSJ has promoted and Oregon has embraced. Read more about our work in our 2013 Annual Report

In 2012, PSJ made a significant shift in our work. In a bold move to pass major public safety reform in 2013, we launched a new campaign called Stand Strong for Safety and Savings. The campaign is designed to maximize the potential of success in the 2013 legislative session by connecting our issues and resources into an intense, coordinated campaign. To focus on the incredible opportunity, we had to temporarily let some things go. We have to prioritize the issues and strategies that best lend themselves to creating a political landscape capable to passing a major sentencing reform package in 2013. For the next two-three years, at least, we are no longer conducting meaningful work around re-entry and prison condition issues. To read about our 2012 accomplishments, please check out our 2012 Annual Report.

2011 was an amazing year at PSJ. We achieved a major youth justice victory, protected prison programs that help people succeed when they are released, published a major report designed to foster dialogue and movement toward proactive collaboration between crime survivor advocates and criminal justice reform advocates called Moving Beyond Sides, and helped protect victim services. You can read about these achievements, and much more about the year, in our 2011 Annual Report.

PSJ was busier than ever in 2010. We launched our Safe Kids, Safer Communities Campaign, the City of Eugene implemented a change to its hiring practices to remove the question about conviction histories from its initial job application form, and PSJ worked to transition the strategic alliance known as the Promise of Measure 57 Coalition into a more permanent, broad-based coalition called the Oregon Coalition for Safety and Savings. To see a summary of our work, our 2010 membership engagement and organizational statistics, and a moving profile of PSJ member Tammie, take a look at our 2010 Annual Report.

We helped pass the 2009 Safety and Savings Act. It included a range of sentencing reforms that save roughly $50 million in reduced need for prison beds. It then reinvested that money into critical public safety infrastructure like domestic violence services, addictions treatment, and community corrections. Read more about the Safety and Savings Act.

We organized to increase funding for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. As a result, the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund was increased in 2007 and 2009. Read more about ODSVS funding.

We led the campaign to defeat Kevin Mannix's Measure 61. This 2008 measure would have been the biggest prison-building policy in the state's history. If it had passed, it would have created new mandatory minimum sentences and gutted the state budget. 

We helped get kids out of adult jails. In 2008, PSJ supported a resolution in Oregon's largest county to prevent youth from being held in adult jails.

We got Multnomah County and Eugene to Think Outside the Box. In 2007 PSJ's members organized to remove the box that asks "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" from initial job applications in Multnomah County. They did the same in Eugene in 2009 to reduce employment barriers for formerly incarcerated people. Read more about barriers to re-entry.

Our Current Work

2014 is a huge year for PSJ. We are honoring our out-going executive director, David Rogers, who gave nine incredibly productive years to the organization. We are in the process of identifying our next director and are taking the time necessary to ensure we get it right. In the meantime, we will be working with Jennifer Williamson as our interim director. Jennifer is a rising legislative star. She was elected as a state representative in 2012 and supported by the Safety and Justice PAC. She has been a longtime ally and leader around criminal justice reform. She also serves in the powerful position of Co-chair of the Public Safety Subcommittee of Ways and Means in the Oregon Legislature. Jennifer is uniquely positioned to work with PSJ’s board and staff leadership to ensure that we continue to thrive and push our work forward.
 
2014 also represents PSJ’s 15th anniversary! We will be creating multiple opportunities to celebrate 15 years of pioneering and provocative work. Although there is much more work to do, it is important to honor our success.