Should sex offenders get out early?

oregon jail
FILE

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Sweeping changes on Measure 11 crimes may be in the works to save the state money. But opponents ask at what cost?

Measure 11 is Oregon’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing law. It was approved by voters in November 1994, and applies mandatory minimum prison sentences to certain crimes. Those convicted of a Measure 11 crime have “no possibility for any reduction in sentence, such as for good behavior,” according to the state. (Here’s a listing of Measure 11 crimes.)

Now state lawmakers are looking for sweeping changes in public safety reform as Oregon’s prison population continues to grow. The goal, they say, is to avoid building another state prison.

One legal proposal to curb the prison population is removing mandatory Measure 11 sentences for some sex abuse, robbery, and assault crimes.

Oregon state legislators admit any changes to Measure 11 would be difficult.

Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Portland, argues lawmakers can’t let criminals out of prison to save money.

Proponents believe too much is spent on the corrections level — and the money should be going to the county level to help prevent such crimes.

Both sides agree in some sort of public safety reform.

State sub-committees will meet this week to discuss options.

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