Youth Justice bill passes – hooray!

EMO is encouraged by the news that today our State Senate passed the important reforms of SB 1008, the Juvenile Justice sentencing bill.

Below is the press release from Senator Jackie Winters, sponsor of this important bipartisan legislation:

Oregon Senate Passes Legislation Giving Youth Offenders a Second Look

SALEM, Ore. – Today, the Oregon Senate passed legislation that will authorize ‘second look’ hearings for incarcerated youth, rescind mandatory adult prosecution for juvenile offenders between the ages of 15 and 17, and prohibit youth under the age of 18 who commit an offense from being sentenced to life without the possibility of release or parole.

“This bill is important because we finally take into account that youth should be treated like youth,” said Senator Jackie Winters, R-Salem. “We need a public safety system that holds youth accountable for crimes, but just as importantly ensures they can grow and change for the better. The fundamental question is how we treat our young people – they are our future. If we do not have a system that teaches responsibility – how to become a valued citizen – redemption – then what hope have we given them?”

SB 1008 was passed with bipartisan support and was the result of a work group created to address the issue of youth incarceration in Oregon. The bill now goes to the House for further consideration.

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Our friends at Partnership for Safety and Justice share this information about the bill:

SB 1008 updates Oregon law to–

  • Make the juvenile system the default placement for youth unless a judge decides to transfer a youth into the adult system

  • Establish a process where all youth who are convicted in adult court have access to a “Second Look” hearing half way through a sentence, at which time a judge may determine whether a youth can safely serve the remainder of a sentence under community supervision

  • Require an additional review before a youth with a long sentence would be transferred from an Oregon Youth Authority facility to an adult prison at the age of 25

  • Eliminate life without parole sentences for youth

  • Provide survivors of crime with trauma-informed victim notification with referrals to culturally-specific services

Keeping youth out of adult courts and prisons is common sense.  Let’s make sure this bill becomes law!

Finally, if you want to make sure this bill not only passes the Senate but passes the Oregon House – and becomes law – then please reach out to your State Representative and tell them to support 1008!

Email your Oregon Representatives now, letting them know that senators passed the bill and encouraging them to do the same.

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