Crime Victims United — Legislative Update

Crime Victims Opposes SB 1087,
supports HB 3638 with exceptions.

We OPPOSE SB1087 for several reasons, among them:

1) We believe SB 1087 should be enacted by the legislature and not referred to the ballot. A separate, narrowly drafted bill, with a sunset clause, specifically allowing IP 40 to be withdrawn should also be adopted by the legislature. The question of whether or not this was constitutional was never submitted to the Attorney General for an opinion. We believe this should have been done. We further believe it to be constitutional. Enactment would have precluded some of the political grandstanding regarding minimum mandatory sentences that some legislators are already engaging in and the ensuing mischief and harm it could bring to Measure 11. We believe this to be one of the underlying political reasons for the referral; a referendum on minimum mandatory sentences with the ultimate goal the disassembly of Measure 11. Those in the legislature who support Measure 11 should consider this prospect.

2) Section 2 of SB 1087 is nothing but window dressing to make politicians look tough on major drug dealers and manufacturers. Ask your District Attorney how many types of these cases they see in a year. I did. I asked the head of the drug unit in Multnomah county and he stated they had approximately six cases at the 100 gram level and NONE at the 500 gram level. The state’s own Criminal Justice Commission projects fifteen or fewer of these type of cases per year and most of these super quantity cases go to the federal government for prosecution. So what happens to the drug dealer who enters our neighborhoods with less than 100 grams of meth or cocaine? A dealer with 85 grams (3 ounces), which would be 425 doses of meth or cocaine, at $20.00 per dose (total street value $8,500.00), can receive probation under current law and will continue to under SB 1087. A typical street dealer with less than 10 grams of meth or cocaine (50 doses) receives presumptive probation on the FOURTH felony conviction currently and SB 1087 does nothing to remedy this situation.

3) Section 8 of SB 1087. Crime Victims United supports drug treatment that is EFFECTIVE. We asked that drug and alcohol treatment programs in this bill should be RIGOROUSLY EVALUATED using RANDOM SELECTION. That was rejected out of hand. Despite SB 267 (2003), that calls for programming using evidence based practices, we really don’t know what works until we apply a proven standard; random selection. Some claim we can’t. We believe it is because they won’t. They fear the results. There are academics using random selection to successfully evaluate treatment programs in criminology now. If we are going to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on treatment shouldn’t we use what REALLY works? Would you take a prescription or over the counter drug that had not been rigorously evaluated using random selection?

CVU SUPPORTS HB 3638, with two exceptions.

1) CVU is pleased with most of the elements of HB 3638. These are changes that our organization has advocated and lobbied for since 2006.

2) Our main objection is the policy of granting earned time above and beyond the 20% these inmates already receive in order to participate in FREE (taxpayer funded) alcohol and drug treatment. In the private sector this would be tanta-mount to giving an employee with an alcohol and drug problem a cash bonus for engaging in treatment.

3) Section 9(3). We think there should be a crime victims’ advocate on the committee that adopts rules for treatment. That victims’ advocate should be appointed by the ODAA.

Crime Victims United was only involved peripherally in recent legislative negotiations. When negotiations started in earnest after January 1, 2008 CVU was not invited to attend any of the meetings held by legislators or the governor’s office. We worked with the ODAA and received information via “shuttle diplomacy” with no real seat at the table.

Thank you for taking the time to read this memo.