Rep Thatcher Proposes Truth In Sentencing Measures

The following is a press release from Rep. Kim Thatcher 2-12-07.

(Salem) “Oregon is headed back in the wrong direction,” said Representative Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer/Newberg/St. Paul). “Back to the days when serious criminals were released early.” Thatcher was joined by members of Crime Victims United, and fellow legislators at a news conference at the State Capitol Press Room on Monday.

Eight new bills were unveiled by Thatcher to put limits on the Alternative Incarceration Program (AIP) at the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). The program includes the Summit Boot Camp Program in North Bend, Turning Point at the Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville and New Directions at the Powder River Correctional Institution in Baker City. AIP is designed to provide 180 days of intensive treatment in secure custody and 90 days of transitional leave in the community. Over 3,300 inmates have completed AIP, some getting up to 75% off of their original sentences.

“We’re losing credibility with the offenders. They commit a serious felony, get sentenced to 45 months and they’re out in six,” explained Thatcher. “We are weakening deterrence and damaging the credibility of the criminal justice system.”

“We’re talking about inmates convicted of serious crimes, including attempted rape, drug dealing and DUII crashes with serious injuries,” said Steve Doell, President of Crime Victims United. A series of news reports showing Yamhill County offenders receiving around 50% sentence reductions on average prompted Representative Thatcher to draft legislative changes.

Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree was on hand for the news conference. “AIP gives DOC too much ability to reduce sentences to a point where they are unsatisfactory to law enforcement and to the public.” Thatcher pointed out, “Victims feel betrayed and cheated by the system they put their faith in lock up the bad guys. This in effect violates the rights of victims who deserve truth and honesty in sentencing.”

BILL # DESCRIPTION OF BILLS

HB 2693 Inmates already gone through AIP once cannot be eligible again.
HB 2694 Inmates with prior felony convictions are not AIP eligible.
HB 2695 Must serve 13 months of sentence & have 24 months remaining to get into AIP.
HB 2696 Inmates convicted of crimes involving death or serious physical injury not AIP eligible.
HB 2697 Requires legislative authorization in order to expand AIP programs.
HB 2698 Inmates convicted of sex crimes are not AIP eligible.

Pending AIP participants must sign waiver to make information public.

Pending Requires Performance Audit & Yearly reports to Legislature on AIP Progress. The first six of these new bills will get a first reading on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives on Tuesday and be posted on the legislature’s web site later this week. The last two will be filed as soon as they are drafted.

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