Public safety is one of the core functions of government. But in Oregon and Washington lawmakers made cuts to corrections as part of their effort to balance budgets hit hard from the ongoing recession.
In Washington, at least so far, cuts have focused on layoffs and reductions in what’s called “community corrections” — supervising nonviolent, low and moderate risk inmates who have been released. Washington’s Department of Corrections says, with one or two exceptions, almost no one is getting out early - yet.
In Oregon, the situation is a little different.
Lawmakers in the Oregon legislature were both lauded and cursed for saving money by delaying the implimentation of Measure 57—a voter passed intiative that mandated sentences for certain drug and property crimes. The bill that put off M57 also allowed the state to give inmates more time off their sentences for good behavior, decrease probation times and, like Washington, send certain incarcerated immigrants who have committed nonviolent offenses back to their home countries early.
Did you vote for Measure 57? What do you think of its suspension? Have you been the victim of a nonviolent crime? Do you have concerns about reducing supervision for some ex-cons in Oregon and Washington?
- Craig Prins: Executive director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission
- Steve Doell: President of Crime Victims United
- Scott Blonien: Assistant secretary for Washington Department of Corrections
- Jorge Baron: Executive director of the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project
- Mike Cooke: Commander with Clark County Sheriff’s office