Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The last few years have seen a shift away from lock-'em-up sentencing policies and more focus on reentry and rehabilitation. The driving force behind the change: money. Legislators have been coping with skyrocketing corrections costs and have responded by adjusting state policy.
What's unclear is whether the general public has become any less sympathetic to a tough-on-crime stance, regardless of the cost. But dueling ballot measures in Oregon should offer a bit of clarity. From the Oregonian :
An initiative that would set three-year mandatory minimum prison sentences for first-time drug dealers, burglars and identity thieves has qualified for the November ballot.
Sponsored by Republican Kevin Mannix, the anti-crime measure would increase Oregon's prison population by an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 inmates and cost $128 million to $200 million a year.
Oregon voters will have another, less expensive, crime-fighting choice on the November ballot: a measure backed by the Oregon Legislature that would send an estimated 1,600 burglars, car thieves and drug dealers to prison at a cost of about $50 million a year.
The legislative proposal, which targets repeat offenders, also includes $20 million a year for drug treatment and local jails.
The legislative proposal also includes a key clause: If voters approve both measures, only the one with more votes goes into effect.
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