2017 Oregon Justice Reinvestment Summit

justice reinvestment summit

Growing Prison Population in Oregon

In 2015, the first Oregon Justice Reinvestment Summit was held amid growing concerns about the size and cost of the prison population in the state of Oregon. From 2000 to 2012, Oregon’s prison population had increased close to 50 percent and the total biennial corrections budget had reached over $1.4 billion.[1] Although the state imprisonment rate was below the national average, it was growing more than three times as fast as the rest of the nation. [4]

Justice Reinvestment Initiatives

In 2013, Oregon enacted new Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) policies with the hopes of decreasing the number of individuals incarcerated in state prisons, as well as lower the prison’s operational costs. These new policies also aimed to increase public safety. Justice Reinvestment Initiatives stem from national efforts to bring criminal justice stakeholders together to analyze trends, promote new strategies, measure the impact of these changes and strategies and gain the ability to tie results of these policies to funding expenditures. [4]

Each state that participates in JRI efforts has the ability to pass their own specific policies, as long as the goal of those policies aligns with the goals of the JRI project as a whole. The State of Oregon presented reforms that included “removing mandatory minimums for repeat drug offenders, reducing sentences for certain crimes” [2] (such as certain marijuana offenses, driving with a suspended license and third degree robbery charges [5]), improving offender re-entry programs and implementing new evaluations for those on probation. Since these policies have been put into place, Oregon has seen a cost aversion of over $18 million and has invested another $98 million into public safety programs. [2]

Today’s Justice Reinvestment Summit

The Justice Reinvestment Summit provides criminology and criminal justice experts a chance to learn more about past initiatives that have proved successful and future methods of decreasing the number of those incarcerated. The 2017 Justice Reinvestment Summit will focus on how mental health plays a role in criminal justice, ways to improve re-entry and offender rehabilitation programs and tactics to reduce recidivism. [6]
Speakers at this year’s summit include policy advisors, crime analysts, criminal justice attorneys and law enforcement leaders from different jurisdictions in the United States. Portland State University Professors Kris Henning, Ryan Labrecque and Chris Campbell have all been tapped to lead conversations at the Summit.[6] The speakers are set to discuss topics within risk assessment, the role of prosecutors in criminal justice, presenting a new model of incentives within public defense to reduce recidivism, understanding the needs of incarcerated women – among a variety of others. [1][6]

Sources:

[1] https://www.oregon.gov/cjc/justicereinvestment/Pages/default.aspx
[2] https://www.bja.gov/programs/justicereinvestment/oregon.html
[3] https://www.bja.gov/programs/justicereinvestment/what_is_jri.html
[4] http://www.oregon.gov/cjc/justicereinvestment/Documents/2015-17_Justice_Reinvestment_RFGP.pdf
[5] http://www.oregon.gov/cjc/justicereinvestment/Documents/Justice%20Reinvestment%20Implementation%20in%20Oregon.pdf
[6] http://www.oregon.gov/cjc/summit/Pages/default.aspx#agenda

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