To the editor:

Please Support Juvenile Justice Reform by writing to our representatives in Salem and let them know you support bill SB1008. It will create a more humane youth justice system that focuses on accountability for youth and safety for our communities by focusing on rehabilitation, education and opportunity.

Oregon currently falls behind the rest of the nation in juvenile justice reform. Since the poorly written Measure 11 law was voted on in 1994, we have learned so much about brain development in youth, their ability to rehabilitate and the costs, both morally and monetary of lengthy incarceration. Measure 11 took discretion from judges and put it in the hands of prosecutors who decide whether to charge a juvenile under measure 11.

SB1008 would give that power back to the judges to decide. SB1008 focuses on prevention and rehabilitation for youth in the criminal justice system.

I know that in Wasco County, our juvenile probation system is lacking in strict preventative and rehabilitation policies. I don’t know how many Wasco County youth are in Oregon Youth Authority currently, but find it interesting that three I personally know, who have been there a year or less, are on honor roll at MacLaren Youth Facility. To me, it’s a crying shame, that these kids had to fail before they could succeed!

SB1008 puts forth four proposals:

1. It establishes a process where all youth who are convicted in adult court have access to a second-look hearing halfway through their sentence.

2. It places youth accused of crimes in the juvenile justice system instead of adult justice system.

3. It requires an additional review before a youth with a long sentence can be transferred to an adult prison.

4. It eliminates life without parole sentences for youth if convicted before age 18. They would receive a chance for parole after 15 years.

Please research this bill SB1008 and show your support! Wasco County representatives emails are: Sen.CliffBentz@oregonlegislature.gov and Rep.DanielBonham@oregonlegislature.gov. Hood River write to: Sen.ChuckThomsen@oregonlegislature.gov and Rep.AnnaWilliams@ oregonlegislature.gov.

Please help me in supporting this bill!

Sue Borton

The Dalles

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