The Oregon Supreme Court handed criminal justice reform advocates a victory Thursday—and potentially saved the state from having to build a new prison.
In 2017, the Oregon State Legislature passed a law that eased sentencing rules around property theft. By shortening the length of sentences for those convicted of theft, the bill aimed to help solve Oregon’s prison crowding problem. That would also help the state avoid the need to build a second women’s prison, which would have cost an estimated $17.5 million.
Later that year, Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote sued the state, saying that the bill—titled the Safety and Savings Act—was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the new law’s constitutionality in a Thursday ruling.
“The Safety and Savings Act was a significant effort by the Legislature to bring commonsense reform to the state’s criminal justice system,” said Kimberly McCullough, policy director at the ACLU of Oregon, in a statement sent to the Mercury Thursday. “We are relieved the law was upheld.”Read More (Offsite)