SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning View Alerts

Governor Brown gets juvenile justice reform package

Oregon approved expansive changes to the way it sentences juvenile offenders in what's a reversal of tough-on-crime policy passed by voters a quarter of a century ago.

Posted: May 24, 2019 4:21 PM
Updated: May 24, 2019 4:23 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon narrowly approved expansive changes to the way it sentences juvenile offenders in what's a reversal of tough-on-crime policy passed by voters a quarter of a century ago.

House lawmakers just barely pushed the measure late Thursday night through the chamber and onto the governor's desk, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports . Among other things, it ensures young offenders aren't sentenced to life without parole and establishes pathways for early release and rehabilitation.

"For those in our system who can be redeemed, we should be focusing on the hope of the future, not the mistakes of the past," said Rep. Marty Wilde, a Democrat from Eugene and former deputy district attorney. "There is no justice in treating children as small adults and locking them away without a chance to rehabilitate."

The proposal partially eases rules voters approved in 1994's Ballot Measure 11, which set mandatory minimum sentences for serious crimes. The move was part of a local and national efforts to be "tough on crime," policy that critics later denounced for disproportionately targeting minorities.

"Our juvenile system creates a class of people who reoffend at a higher rate," said Rep. Jennifer Williamson, a Democrat from Portland who had been a central backer of the sentencing changes. "It targets our communities of color. My question is, 'What is our responsibility knowing that?'"

Those 15 and older convicted of serious crimes like murder, rape and kidnapping will no longer be automatically be tried as adults under the change. Judges will instead try youths as they see fit, something some opponents say gave judges broad decision-making authority.

The bill also makes young offenders eligible for a parole hearing after serving half their sentence and creates a new pathway for certain defendants to secure early release.

Some argued the changes should be sent back to the voters, since they were the ones to enact those sentencing minimums in the first place.

"There is no doubt that Oregon needs to reform the juvenile justice system," said Rep. Ron Noble, a Republican from McMinnville, "but this bill needs to go to the voters."

Gov. Kate Brown has signaled she will sign the measure into law.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
Medford
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
89° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 87°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
89° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Klamath Falls
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 80°
Numerous Tuesday Thunderstorms
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events