Senate Bill 320 Seeks to Reform Harsh Sentencing Guidelines in Oregon

Senate Bill 320 is a bill that has been brought up in the Oregon Legislature. It would let people who have committed serious crimes get their sentences shortened. The cuts would happen if certain conditions were met, and they would apply to people who were sentenced under Measure 11.

Measure 11 was passed by voters in 1994. It made certain serious crimes, like robbery, manslaughter and arson, have a minimum sentence that must be served.

In 1994, Measure 11 set the minimum sentence to be served in Oregon.

For kidnapping, the sentences range from 5 years and 10 months to 25 years. Under the current law, if a person is found guilty of one of the serious crimes listed, the minimum sentence could not be less than what is listed. They also wouldn’t be able to get out of jail early or have their sentence shortened.

Senate Bill 320 Seeks to Reform Harsh Sentencing Guidelines in Oregon

According to the proposed bill, a person could have their sentence shortened if they were a first-time offender, if they behaved well in jail and if they took part in certain programs.

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Cate Duke works for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and she thinks the bill will have a big effect on those affected by Measure 11 crimes in the beginning.

β€œThey’re harmed and victimized by that initial crime,” Duke said. β€œThey’re re-victimized and traumatized through the judicial process, but they come out at the end holding onto this piece of justice that they’ve been given through that process. And this bill steals part of that justice away.”

On the other hand, Patty Youngblood started the group Time Does Not Fit the Crime, and she thinks the bill will motivate prisoners to change.

β€œSome of those first time offenders had one moment time in their life of ‘what did I do, and why did I do it,’” Youngblood said. β€œAnd to make communities safer, our inmates, adults in custody need to have incentives to improve.”

Jim Simonis’s family died in an accident caused by a drunk driver. He felt better after getting a Measure 11 sentence.

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β€œAnd it’s so hard, you know when you’re going through the court process, you know trying to — trying to find out what’s going to happen to him and us and the whole situation,” Simonis said. β€œAnd then it is a big comfort when you find out that something does rise to the level of being a Measure 11 crime.”

There will be a public hearing on the bill on April 3. On the legislature’s website, groups or individuals interested in the proposed bill can leave written testimony in support of or against it.

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Jessa Martin

Jessa Martin is an accomplished news writer with a passion for keeping the community informed about the latest events and happenings in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Jessa has become a go-to source for breaking news and in-depth reporting. As a news writer for, Jessa covers a wide range of topics, from local politics and government to community events and human interest stories. Their writing is always informative, insightful, and engaging, offering readers a deeper understanding of the issues that matter most to the people of Hillsboro.

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