Push for complete repeal of HB 3508 early release bill

Letter to Oregon State Sentaors on behalf of Crime Victims United;

Attached is the letter I sent to each of you on January 25, 2010 regarding SB 1007/HB 3508 and the “earned time” issue.

The position of Crime Victims United has not changed. Anything less than a complete repeal of the “earned time” portion of HB 3508 from 30% to 20% PERMANENTLY is not acceptable. A “time out” is bad corrections policy and bad politics.

Over the course of the last three weeks I have met several times with leadership on both sides of the aisle and some of you individually in order to be as clear as possible about the position in which CVU will be placed if the 30% “earned time” is not repealed on a permanent basis.

I am requesting that each of you read CVU’s letter one last time and consider the entire contents carefully before you cast your vote today.Please note the following two paragraphs:

“This has been a difficult time for all of us – crime victims, judges, prosecutors and the Oregon Legislature. There is only one practical and political resolution to this terrible situation. It is time to do what is right and honorable. Repeal the “earned time” section of HB 3508 and return it to 20% in the February session.

It is our view that the expansion of earned time in HB 3508 was bad public safety policy. If the earned time provision is repealed effective at the end of the 2010 session, we will consider this issue to be addressed. I commit Crime Victims United to a promise of disengagement on the HB 3508 “earned time” issue when the repeal is signed into law.”

When the letter was written CVU had no idea the majority party would make a calculation to deceive voters with a temporary “time out” for purposes of election year politics. Certainly the stated reasons for increasing earned time, scarcity of resources and the economy, seem to have evaporated not in reality obviously but for this bill and political reasons. Juxtapose those stated reasons in the run-up to the passage of HB 3508 against the fact that this “time out” will actually increase costs.

A reasoned person would have to ask, if the increase to 30% “earned time”
was such a great idea to begin with, why not just do the “fixes” contained in SB 1007 and stick with the 30%? And what about that money problem? Are you now going to make cuts in the State Police and the OYA to pay for this?

Frankly, in seventeen years of advocating for crime victims, public safety and sentencing policy, when it comes to the issue of criminal justice, I have never seen a bill that is more brazenly cynical than SB 1007 come before the Oregon Legislature.

Once again, to be clear, when CVU states repeal we mean permanently.

You all have seen the statewide polling in which the results made very clear where your constituents, the Oregon voters, stand on this issue.

In addition to this letter, you have received letters from Attorney General John Kroger, the Oregon Sheriffs, Oregon Chiefs of Police, Oregon District Attorneys Association, Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance and the Portland Police Association all supporting the repeal of 30% “earned time” back to 20%.

“Earned time” should not be a bouncing ball creating constant questions and instability in the criminal justice system for crime victims, law abiding citizens, law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts or criminals.

CVU strongly urges you to vote NO on SB 1007. Send it back to committee to amend it to permanently repeal the 30% “earned time” to 20%.


Steve Doell
Crime Victims United