Oregon Attempts to Address Growing Prison Populations
Signed August 8, 2017, Oregon House Bill 3078 attempts to address the state’s growing prison population with some common sense solutions that will benefit the people of Oregon and low level offenders. This bill aims to change the sentencing guidelines for property and drug possession crimes and move defendants to treatment and transitional programs rather than sending them to prison where the root causes of their offenses are rarely addressed. This bill is especially beneficial to women defendants, who are far more common than men to commit low level crimes against property and minor drug offenses and can find themselves in coercive and abusive situations.
With Oregon’s female prison population tripling over the past 20 years, costs of incarceration to the state, prison overcrowding, and the impact of disproportionately long prison sentences on families and children spurred the legislature into action with the goal of finding a cost saving and more humane way to deal with low level offenders and to treat the underlying conditions and situations that lead to these types of crimes. According to the supporters of the bill, money spent on incarceration for low level offenders, especially women, is better spent on probation and treatment programs to combat the root causes of these crimes, drug abuse and mental illness. According to the state of Oregon, 70 percent of female offenders are incarcerated for drug and property crimes. Many suffer from mental illness, drug abuse, or are survivors of domestic violence situations.
While this is a step in the right direction for the Oregon criminal justice system many still fall through the cracks. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, your first priority needs to be finding and retaining a qualified experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate for your rights and protect you from a confusing and treacherous legal system. If you are facing a criminal conviction, it is important to secure the counsel of a reputable Oregon criminal defense attorney. Call Kroll & Johnson today for your free, initial consultation.