SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory 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: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 31°
Grants Pass
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 43°
Klamath Falls
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 31°
Few Monday showers
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events