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  #1  
Old 07-08-2009, 09:27 PM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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Arrow Action Alert from PSJ: Take Action to Support Criminal Justice Reform

Just wanted to share the following Action Alert which is posted on the Partnership for Safety and Justice's website at:

http://safetyandjustice.e-actionmax.....asp?aaid=4159.
Take Action to Support Criminal Justice Reform
Please review the message below. Click "Send Message" to deliver this message to your selected targets. You are encouraged to personalize the message by adding your own comments.
Oregon needs to get smart on crime.
Oregon currently spends a larger percentage of its general fund budget on corrections than any other state in the country. Our state has fourteen prisons and is planning to build more in the future.

Oregon incarceration boom is unsustainable. The more we spend on prisons, the less money is available to fund education programs, drug and alcohol treatment programs, intervention programs for at risk youth programs that cost less than incarceration and prevent crime in the first place.

Spending on prisons also takes scarce resources away from programs and services that support survivors of crime. For example, as more and more of the general fund goes to incarceration, less general fund money is available for the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund (ODSVS), the only general fund money that supports services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout Oregon.

We can stop the incarceration boom. Oregon can save our scarce tax dollars and maintain public safety by investing in programs like community based drug and alcohol treatment, intervention programs for at risk youth, after school programs, re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated people and more.

We can also change the way we sentence people to prison by stopping one-size-fits-all sentencing and allowing judges the discretion to determine the appropriate sentence for each individual. We can prevent crime, and we can support services so that when people are hurt by crime or violence, they have resources that can help support them.

The first step is letting legislators know that now is the time for change. Send a message to your legislature and encourage him or her to get smart on crime.

There is a letter prepared below this blurb which you can modify so as to share your own thoughts and you can then choose to have the message sent to your state legislator and your state senator.
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2009, 10:31 PM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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In light of today's Oregonian article, I am hoping that some (all) of you will be taking action per PSJ's call!!! I read so much of what's going on around your nation... and really want to see greater momentum building in Oregon to make the changes that need to be made to a system that is simply over-burdened!!

An interesting thing is occuring tomorrow... there is a hearing on mandatory minimum sentences at the national level.

Sentencing Law and Policy, House hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences", http://sentencing.typepad.com/senten...sequences.html.
Though nearly all eyes this week will be on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor get started, sentencing fans should be sure to take note of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the House. Specifically, as detailed here, on Tuesday morning the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences."

Though no official witness list has yet been posted, this item from FAMM indicates that FAMM president Julie Stewart is scheduled to testify. I hope and expect that some representative from the Department of Justice will also be testifying, though I am not quite sure what to hope and expect to hear from DOJ on mandatory minimums. Though AG Holder recently gave a fairly progressive speech on criminal justice issues (details here), he has previously express at least modest support for some mandatory minimum sentencing laws. And, though President Obama has expressed concerns about mandatory minimums, his Administration has to date largely avoided expressly condemning or condoning such laws. Perhaps something consequential might get said by the DOJ rep at this upcoming hearing.

Anyhow, I will be paying attention to this because it'd be great if there could be some impact on Oregon's Measure 11, etc.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:01 AM
JDsButterfly JDsButterfly is offline
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Sweet!
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:13 AM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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Originally Posted by JDsButterfly View Post
Sweet!
I read the editorial from today's Oregonian and was prepared to dismiss it or ignore it. Then I read another article in today's Washington Post (Keith B. Richburg, "States Seek Less Costly Substitutes for Prisons," Washington Post (July 13, 2009), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...071202432.html). Anyhow, it reminded me that the 'tough on crime' folks--so vocal in Oregon via Crime Victims United and others--need to be more educated about what is not only happening in other states but by those in government at the federal level. As well, I'd be supporting the "Common Sense in Sentencing Act," as well as Jim Webb's "National Criminal Justice Commission Act" and there are a couple other related bills (one of them referencing drug crimes)... and hoping that even if we were to have little success within Oregon, that perhaps we could see changes coming from the top down?!
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:36 AM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Precious* View Post
In light of today's Oregonian article, I am hoping that some (all) of you will be taking action per PSJ's call!!! I read so much of what's going on around your nation... and really want to see greater momentum building in Oregon to make the changes that need to be made to a system that is simply over-burdened!!

An interesting thing is occuring tomorrow... there is a hearing on mandatory minimum sentences at the national level.

Sentencing Law and Policy, House hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences", http://sentencing.typepad.com/senten...sequences.html.
Though nearly all eyes this week will be on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor get started, sentencing fans should be sure to take note of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the House. Specifically, as detailed here, on Tuesday morning the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences."

Though no official witness list has yet been posted, this item from FAMM indicates that FAMM president Julie Stewart is scheduled to testify. I hope and expect that some representative from the Department of Justice will also be testifying, though I am not quite sure what to hope and expect to hear from DOJ on mandatory minimums. Though AG Holder recently gave a fairly progressive speech on criminal justice issues (details here), he has previously express at least modest support for some mandatory minimum sentencing laws. And, though President Obama has expressed concerns about mandatory minimums, his Administration has to date largely avoided expressly condemning or condoning such laws. Perhaps something consequential might get said by the DOJ rep at this upcoming hearing.

Anyhow, I will be paying attention to this because it'd be great if there could be some impact on Oregon's Measure 11, etc.
Just to clarify... the types of arguments made in favour of the bill being discussed tomorrow wouldn't directly impact on OR's M11; however, the arguments made in support of the bill could be used to support the call for repealing or amending M11 in the state of Oregon.

And an FYI... my interest in the issue stems from the fact that I can see the injustice of the mandatory minimums. Plus, we're seeing the direction being taken with regard to mandatory minimums, including with M57. FAMM has a good background/summary regarding the issue of mandatory minimums on their website: http://www.famm.org/UnderstandSenten...yMinimums.aspx and http://www.famm.org/UnderstandSenten...yMinimums.aspx.

Anyway, the mandatory minimums are but one of a great number of issues that I think need to be reconsidered in Oregon.

Last edited by *Precious*; 07-14-2009 at 12:43 AM..
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:32 PM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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Thumbs up Mandatory Minimums & Oregon's M11, etc.

So I guess I'm not the only one speculating on what it means to have the discussions at the federal level regarding the Mandatory Minimums and the potential it could have for Oregon!!
Here in Oregon, we've had a long debate about the value of mandatory minimum sentencing. Measure 11 was sponsored by right-wing activists like Kevin Mannix and Steve Doell. Later, Measure 57 was put on the ballot by the 2007 Oregon Legislature as a way to blunt the effects of the Mannix/Doell Measure 61.
The battles over those measures featured a coalition of progressives, human services advocates, civil libertarians, and organized labor on one side - against the typical right-wing coalition of social conservatives, anti-tax advocates, and lock-em-up advocates.
But now, there's an interesting wrinkle. Grover Norquist, the leader of the right-wing Americans for Tax Reform, has come out strongly against mandatory minimum sentencing measures like Measure 11.
For the link to the rest of the blog:
Kari Chisholm, "Grover Norquist abandons mandatory minimums. Will Oregon conservatives follow his lead?" BlueOregon (July 14, 2009), http://www.blueoregon.com/2009/07/gr...-his-lead.html.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Precious* View Post
In light of today's Oregonian article, I am hoping that some (all) of you will be taking action per PSJ's call!!! I read so much of what's going on around your nation... and really want to see greater momentum building in Oregon to make the changes that need to be made to a system that is simply over-burdened!!

An interesting thing is occuring tomorrow... there is a hearing on mandatory minimum sentences at the national level.

Sentencing Law and Policy, House hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences", http://sentencing.typepad.com/senten...sequences.html.
Though nearly all eyes this week will be on the Senate Judiciary Committee as the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor get started, sentencing fans should be sure to take note of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the House. Specifically, as detailed here, on Tuesday morning the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on "Mandatory Minimums and Unintended Consequences."

Though no official witness list has yet been posted, this item from FAMM indicates that FAMM president Julie Stewart is scheduled to testify. I hope and expect that some representative from the Department of Justice will also be testifying, though I am not quite sure what to hope and expect to hear from DOJ on mandatory minimums. Though AG Holder recently gave a fairly progressive speech on criminal justice issues (details here), he has previously express at least modest support for some mandatory minimum sentencing laws. And, though President Obama has expressed concerns about mandatory minimums, his Administration has to date largely avoided expressly condemning or condoning such laws. Perhaps something consequential might get said by the DOJ rep at this upcoming hearing.

Anyhow, I will be paying attention to this because it'd be great if there could be some impact on Oregon's Measure 11, etc.
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2009, 11:45 AM
*Precious* *Precious* is offline
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Default When does the punishment fit the crime?

So I came across an opinion piece yesterday that I found interesting. As you know I'm interested in the ideas around prison reform, criminal justice reform... and I have my own ideas on the use of incarceration as punishment anyhow. Well, I thought I'd share this piece with you.
“Punishment is a notion that humankind gradually outgrows. A person has done evil, so another person, or a group of people, in order to fight this evil, cannot think of anything better than to create more evil, which they call punishment.
“Every punishment is based not on logic or on the feeling of justice, but on the desire to wish evil on those who have done evil to you or another person. Everything about our present system of punishment and criminal law will be thought of by future generations in the same way we think of cannibalism or human sacrifice to the pagan gods.
“We should remember that the desire to punish is part of a very low animal feeling which should be suppressed, and which should not be a part of our reality. Capital punishment is a very clear proof that our society’s organization is far from being a Christian one.”
I didn’t write the above; Leo Tolstoy did. One of history’s greatest thinkers and writers — “War and Peace,” among others — Tolstoy spent his latter years pondering and writing about the moral and spiritual aspects of life.
And the author concluded with the following statement:
Crime is like the weather. We talk about it, but nobody does anything about it, except those few dedicated and courageous souls attempting to guide and direct the losers to a better life. What’s your solution?
To read more:
Terry Cummins, "When does the punishment fit the crime?" News & Tribune (New Albany, IN: August 2, 2009), http://www.news-tribune.net/opinion/...yword=topstory.

Anyhow, I was thinking about the fact that outside of the legislative session, there may be less news to inspire us to be prepared to ensure that the lawmakers stay on the current path they have taken with regard to Oregon's criminal justice system/public safety... but hopefully it could at least be a time of preparation for action?!! Although, I suppose, for many of us, it never ceases to be an issue considering our loved ones' circumstances?!!!

In the meantime, I'm keeping an eye on the actions being taken in other states and will also keep my eye on the initiatives proposed by Mannix's group.

Last edited by *Precious*; 08-03-2009 at 11:51 AM..
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