Friday, October 7, 2022

Play

Following a settlement with tribes, SD phases In voting-access reforms; older voters: formidable factor in Maine gubernatorial race; walking: a simple way to boost heart health.

Play

Biden makes a major move on marijuana laws; the U.S. and its allies begin exercises amid North Korean threats; and Generation Z says it's paying close attention to the 2022 midterms.

Play

Rural residents are more vulnerable to a winter wave of COVID-19, branding could be key for rural communities attracting newcomers, and the Lummi Nation's totem pole made it from Washington state to D.C.

OR Bill Proposes Big Shift in Criminal Justice

Play

Monday, February 22, 2021   

SALEM, Ore. -- A bill in the Oregon Legislature proposes major reforms to the state's criminal justice system.

House Bill 2002 is a sweeping measure that would scale back the system's reach, from limiting what offenses send a person to jail, to reforming mandatory minimum sentences, to reducing the number of people on parole.

Shannon Wight, deputy director of the Partnership for Safety and Justice, one of the groups that requested the bill, said the changes are needed.

"Those are the part of the bill that actually kind of shrink the system, limit its impact because we know it's grown too big," Wight contended. "It's become like the mental health default, the addiction default."

Wight pointed out the bill came together in the wake of George Floyd's death.

She emphasized it would save money to be reinvested in things like culturally-specific services.

Other groups involved in the effort include the Latino Network, Coalition of Communities of Color, and Red Lodge Transition Services.

House Bill 2002 has a public hearing scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Morgan Godvin, a commissioner on the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, spent time in Oregon jails and a federal prison for her opioid use disorder.

She said her personal experience opened her eyes because she saw many women churned through the system, being released and re-arrested again and again.

"It was making them less safe," Godvin argued. "Jail was destabilizing their lives. They were losing their housing, they were losing their job, and then being released back into the exact same circumstances from which they came."

Godvin helped craft the bill's parole piece. She stressed the current program negatively incentivizes people, relying on sending them back to jail. The bill would allow for tele-reporting to supervisors and limit the complexities of parole.

Wight added reforming mandatory minimum sentences is important because it unties the hands of judges. She noted, nonetheless, people who commit crimes need to be held accountable.

"Part of what we're saying with these reforms is, let's go back to a system that allows judges to look at the individual circumstances of those crimes and make decisions that are based on what accountability makes sense for that person and for that victim," Wight concluded.

The bill would also increase funding for community-based victim services.


get more stories like this via email

In a recent lawsuit, a federal judge found nearly 10 examples in which the State of South Dakota had made it difficult for Native Americans to register to vote. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…


Social Issues

Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation…

Social Issues

The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …


The average monthly Social Security benefit in August was $1,546. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are …

Social Issues

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and her challenger, former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, both are courting votes from Maine's largest contingency -- …

Methane released into the atmosphere is responsible for at least 25% of current global warming, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. (permianmap.org)

Environment

Ahead of revised methane regulations expected from the federal government, a new study shows that gas flaring in oil-producing states such as Texas …

Health and Wellness

Even for people who think they're too busy to exercise, experts say there's one surefire way to squeeze in a modest workout: walking. Although often …

Social Issues

Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021