Safety and Sentencing News

A coalition including district attorneys, sheriffs, and justice reform groups (including PSJ) is asking the legislature to triple funding for the Justice Reinvestment grant program. The program funds services like parole, drug treatment, transitional housing, and mental health.
Oregon legislators were wise to allocate at least 10% of JR funds to community-based nonprofit victim services programs. We look forward to seeing counties invest this crucial funding into key - but often overlooked - pieces of our public safety system that literally safe victims' lives.
MLK said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” President Obama added, “But it does not do so on its own. It does so because there are hands of ordinary people doing extraordinary things every single day and they pull that arc in the direction of justice."
Our overreliance on prisons has failed America. It is past time for both political parties to come together and fix a bad system of their own making. This moment offers a once-in-a generation opportunity for reforms that will save entire communities and transform the lives of millions.
Executive Director Andy Ko writes for our regular Street Roots column about poverty within our wealthy nation and how rather than feeling helpless against the rich and powerful, if we all put just a little money into supporting organizations that are doing good work, we can make a difference.
The Multnomah Co DA's office announced that it would dismiss 50 pending cases involving violation-level marijuana possession in light of Measure 91's statewide passage last week. The cases involve charges that will be legal when the new law becomes effective for possession and cultivation in July.
California approved a major shift against mass incarceration on Tuesday in a vote that could lead to the release of thousands of state prisoners. Nonviolent felonies like shoplifting and drug possession will be downgraded to misdemeanors under the ballot measure.
PSJ's new executive director, Andy Ko, writes in our regular Street Roots column about his lifelong commitment to social justice and the path his life has taken to arrive in Portland as the director of PSJ.
Speaking at a conference held by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, AG Holder said the trend underlines the “holistic approach” he favors to reducing mass incarceration, which includes strategies ranging from community policing to rethinking sentencing.
Unfair punishment for juveniles under Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws moved to center stage Saturday when supporters of reform joined together at Pioneer Courthouse Square for what they called a "community awareness and healing event."