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.
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
Justice Reinvestment: The bulk of our work in 2013 will be focused on a campaign to promote sentencing reform in Oregon with a justice reinvestment framework. It’s a justice reinvestment framework that allows us to connect all our issues.
As we promote smarter approaches to sentencing that include reforms to mandatory minimums, increased judicial discretion, increased use of earned time, and evidence-based diversion programs, we know that these approaches could save hundreds of millions of dollars while reducing crime and victimization. The justice reinvestment framework means we will be pushing hard to see a portion of those savings tangibly invested in shifting our public safety spending toward more sustainable, prevention-based strategies. So we hope to see increased investment in addiction treatment and recovery programs, victim services, re-entry programs, evidence-based law enforcement strategies, and prison programs that help people succeed when they return to the community.
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