PSJ's Deputy Director Shannon Wight writes about the progress made toward reforming Oregon's criminal justice system during this Legislative Session and why we're still fighting the good fight. (Street Roots)
The Medford Mail Tribune understands Justice Reinvestment. "The state's prison population has leveled off and begun to decline. But after only two years, lawmakers in Salem are already itching to divert some of the money to other state budget needs. That's premature."
Shannon Wight and Elizabeth Hilliard discuss the Family Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) being considered by the Oregon Legislature. Oregon looks to model Washington's successful FOSA bill which allows certain parents to serve sentences under community supervision rather than prison.
A bill in Salem modeled after a 5-year-old program in Washington would give nonviolent offenders a chance to stay with their kids while getting their acts together. HB 3503 would test-drive alternative sentences for moms and dads who have custody of their minor children when they commit crimes.
PSJ is thrilled to be working on this bill that "builds on work [the Oregon legislature] did last session shortening some prison sentences slightly in an effort to slow the growth of Oregon’s prison population."
Justice reinvestment focuses on a simple idea: "Instead of spending money on more prison beds, spend the money saved by keeping people out of prison on treatment and other wrap-around services." HB3194 (2013) did just that. So why is the state recommending cutting funding for Justice Reinvestment?