Having mandatory minimum sentences MIGHT be a deterent to some criminals- on the other hand, why do we have Judges if not to determine the best punishment for the convicted criminal standing before the bench? Do we need better judges may be? Bottom line---if we don't fund the building of new prisons and/or do something about the way the whole prison system is run in this state, all the minimum sentencing laws in the world won't help the crime problem. Do you want them to do early release on rapists and armed robbers just so there will be room for the folks who will be placed in jail mandatorily with more of these laws? Remember what happened to the system last time we passed on of these laws? I wholeheartedly agree that we need to get tough with habitual offenders (especially of crimes that do so much harm to the people and communities of Oregon), but you know, I am willing to bet that we loose more people (that more people DIE) to drunk drivers than we do to our Meth addicts and we can't seem to keep them off the streets either. I don't think either of these measures should pass unless and until the people of this state commit to housing the criminals we are saying we want the courts to take out of circulation. As for the madatory treatment programs - again, great idea!!! Needed idea - how can you expect someone to cure themselves of something like a Meth addiction???? When they are released without any treatment they will go back and reoffend as soon as they can. But again -- where is the money for these programs to come from? We don't have enough jail space as it is, now you will need more money for the treatment programs and facilities. Where to do you take the money from??? Programs for the elderly, the schools, the moneies to keep our bridges and highways in good repair???? These are all good plans, maybe even neccessary plans, but without our commitment to fund them - the willingness to dig into our own pockets and find the money for them - they are just pipe dreams.
Why are mandatory sentences EVER a good idea? Not all criminals are the same, not all crimes are equal. If punishment is set in stone, why have judges? It seems to be that mandatory sentences are intended to eliminate the thoughtful application of justice in favor of mindless, universal standards that place everyone in the same box.
I was going to vote no on both but it seems like all the people I trust are telling me they are both going to get over the 50% mark - so in order to have a voice, I should choose one. Measure 57 seems to be the more reasonable of the two.
I've voted yes on 57 and no on 61.
Want my opinion on why I went this way?
57 gives more options while still recognizing that crimes like destroying someone's financial life are not a joke... 61 strikes me as more rigid overkill.
Doing nothing is not an option.
As for the position that mandatary minimums are a deterrent, I doubt it. Instead, they are a consequence that reduces a convicted criminal's freedom. Consider these measures a social insistence to prevent lenient legislating judges from encouraging the perps into continuing to victimize Oregon's poor and working folk.
Have we put anywhere near the same attention on the causes and motivations of these crimes? Otherwise you're just selecting for smarter crooks. What's next after mandatory sentencing - rewriting the laws so that guilt is presumed and innocence has to be proven? A points system and we bypass the courts entirely?
I trust judges and juries to exercise a level of prudence that no mandatory sentencing rules will ever be able to address.
Show me the money!!
Without a tax increase included in either of these measures to cover the very real costs of implementing either of these measures, we're just robbing Peter to pay Kevin. Fear of meth crimes should not be responded to by revenge. Instead, mandatory detox and treatment, then monitoring and counseling. Warehousing in prisons that we cannot afford to run let alone build takes resources away from prevention, education, and social services. Since the effect is always hamstringing state and local governments, I cannot help but wonder if this isn't the real intent. "Justice" at the cost of accountability and-or fiscal responsibility is as much of a crime as these measures are purported to deal with. Yet to block the more outrageous of the two, I may still need to vote for Measure 57, the lesser of two evils.
I am assuming the goal of a manditory minimum is to reduce crime. Are there quantitative examples of manditory minimums in other States reducing crime. Has Measure 11 measurably reduced the amount of violet crime; what have been the unintended concequences of Measure 11; the financial concequences?
Given the funding crisis in the state, I am worried that we are once again trying to use fear to get the population to pay more for prisons, instead of treatment and education, which have been proven to reduce crime rates. I will vote for 57 because it has a provision for drug treatment, which I see as much more effective than locking drug addicts up, it is also much less expensive.
I was an ID theft victim. Somebody spent over $1000 on my credit card--and we never caught them. The other thing I know is that most ID theft is linked to meth addiction. It seems pretty common sense to me that we would put these people in treatment as well as prison--only Measure 57 does that.
There simply is not enough money in the budget to shovel into more prisons and corrections personnel. Why do we have to vote for one or the other? I am voting for neither. A far better use of money would be to invest in education, which has been consistently shorted by the types of initiatives sponsored by Mannix, Sizemore, and their millionaire backers. These guys are typical of the upper class which presumes ownership of government, and hence thinks it knows what is best for the other 95%.
I'm voting "no" on both. Selling ecstacy is not the same crime as stealing $10,000 or more from the elderly, and does not deserve the same punishment. Mandatory sentencing puts good people who've made some bad decisions into a prison system that will only further ruin their lives. Each case sentence should be decided by a judge.
Would passage of either of these measures just increase the number of convicted criminals who are release without serving their sentences?
You can tell a lot about a ballot measure by its backers. As far as I can tell, Measure 57 is backed by all of law enforcement as well as treatment providers and people I trust like AARP. Mannix's measure is just that--Mannix's measure. He's pretty well out on a limb on his own there.
the COST argument is only valid in a bubble.
but in the real world the $$ cost to our society for effects of either of these bills is not as much as the cost of the consequences of the effects on our society from the crimes being commmited.
on subjects like shoplifting, the cost is specifically talked about and the actions taken, while expensive, are justified due to the fact that they are less than the cost of continued shoplifting.
why, on these measures, do we only use the cost of the jails and not look at the cost to society that the continued perpetrators of the crimes cost?
The powers that be overestimate the "cost" as a sort of shock factor. then again, if they measured the cost to all of us when people continue to commit these crimes, and did so in an effort to fight crime, maybe the number would be equally as large. hmmm... how can we get a truely accurate number for each to make an educated decision that would help us figure out how to solve this problem?
who knows... we might actually find out that better treatment AND better enforcement is cost effective once we know how much money we spend as a society paying for the effects of these crimes being committed.
I think the best way to curb these crimes is to provide treatment. Most of these crimes and many others are a direct result of addiction. I work in the treatment field and also have 13 years of sobriety under my belt. I have been to prison and did not get what I needed there to quit commiting crimes and get clean and sober. What happened for me was I learned a whole new set of crimes and met new criminal connections. My life change happened after entering a residential treatment program. Today and for the past 11 years I have the privallege of working with mothers that are addicted to substances. They are not "bad" people, just sick. Many have commited numerous crimes to support their habits. I think it is a bad idea to put them in prison without addressing the issue. And what about the already over burdened child welfare system? Where do we put the kids? I certainly do not support mandatory sentences and more prison beds especially without treatment.
> What happened for me was I learned a whole new set of crimes and met new
> criminal connections. My life change happened after entering a residential
> treatment program. Today and for the past 11 years I have the privallege of
> working with mothers that are addicted to substances. They are not "bad"
> people, just sick.
Exactly. I'll never vote for a measure with mandatory sentences, and I definitely won't vote for one that lumps violent crimes such as assault, robbery, etc, with "crimes" where the only victim is the criminal. Drug-related crimes will be reduced if you resolve addiction. Prisons are essentially incubators for criminals.
please discuss the cost issue!!
how convienient that you never discussed the cost issue... shame on you.
It seems like it's always the same small group of people who commit the same crimes over and over again. Does anyone know what either 61 or 57 would do about that?
The impact of Measure 61 on children of addicted parents will be more than substantial-we have to get parents who struggle with addictions into treatment, otherwise, our foster care system will be flooded with children of incarcerated parents, and children who are in the foster care system are substantially more likely to wind up in the justice system than than those who are not. Please consider the impact on our future generations, and vote yes on Measure 57.
I wanted to get my question asked on the air if possible, but there are much more serious problems with Measures 57 & 61.
I went back to college twenty years after dropping out of high school, and my first research paper was on drug prohibition. Fact is, most of the problems that are attributed to drugs are actually caused by drug prohibition. I learned this by looking at the years between the invention of morphine and heroin and the beginning of drug prohibition in 1916 (Harrison Act) The evidence is so voluminous, so overwhelming, and so clear that the fact that this is almost never debated--despite the number of law enforcement professionals that agree--has diminished my confidence in the ability of democracy to solve our problems. The state of health care, the electrical grid, the legacy of Hurricane Katrina, and social security points to the validity of my fears.
So, we won't be solving the property crime epidemic by eliminating the need to steal to support one's habit, (a dose of heroin costs no more to produce than a dose of alcohol--the markup goes to the dealer to offset the risk of being caught) the need to use violence to settle business disagreements (legitimate business rely on civil and criminal law to settle disputes)--and we will continue to encourage schemes to evade penalties by concentrating drugs and inventing new chemical formulations that are psychoactive but not against the law to possess.
So, we won't stop empowering international criminal gangs--even the Taliban has gotten into narcotics as a way to earn money for weapons--but we will further dilute resources available to aid drug addicts by forcing the construction of more prisons. There is one further problem.
Does everyone understand that incarceration without serious rehabilitation and the support necessary to enable parolees to succeed in the workplace and family after prison simply amounts to sending criminals to graduate studies in crime? All over the country, people are being released from prison with new ideas about succeeding at crime, new connections to do so, and new knowledge about how law enforcement caught them?
Alcohol prohibition was repealed in a few years because everyone wants to drink. Drug prohibition is more intractable because most people don't want to use drugs.
A cynical person would support measure 61 because the more we compound the problems caused by drug prohibition, the more likely we are to repeal it.
Neither measure should be on the ballot and both should be defeated.
The legislature should be addressing these complex public policy issues during session.
Trying to micro manage complex public policy through the initiative process creates bad law and unfunded and ineffective mandates.
How much money do Mannix and his funders and the #61 supporters have invested in Corrections companies and the construction companies that build them??
Conservative Republicans make huge money from such investments and they benefit from keeping the prisons filled.
Conservative Republicans keep cutting taxes for schools and prevention programs which results in the problems that they want to punish out of existence at huge back end costs to the public; it is far more cost effective to invest in kids at the front end and thus keep the prison population at a minimum.
Prevention, prevention, prevention, and then rehab for those who slip through the cracks.
As the director of a substance abuse treatment program that I have been with for more than 30 years, I see everyday that treatment works. It is the most cost effective and only long term solution to reducing property crime. I worry where we will get the money to implement either 57 or 61 but 57 is the clear choice of the two. First it requires much less money, targets repeat offenders and funds treatment while 61 does not. I have many staff working for me who entered recovery through treatment. Prior to this they would be incarcerated, get released, and return to their criminal behavior until succeeding in treatment. My observations would support that short term incarceration can have rehabilitative value but longer term you lose this benefit and offenders usually return to the community having learned to be better criminals. Perhaps of most importance to me is that the fastest growing population commiting property crimes are women, most of whom have children. These children are traumatized by removal from their homes because of the poor judgement of their parents. We do not currently have the foster care resources to serve those children already in need. What will happen to the hundreds affected by measures 57 and 61. Once parents are rehabilitated through treatment, children can return to stable families in recovery instead of lanquishing in the foster care system. If we want to reduce crime we have to reduce the number of traumatized children who have an increased risk of growing up to be tomorrow's criminals. Because measure 57 recognizes the connection between addiction and property crime, it is clearly the right choice. Vote yes on 57 and No on 61.
Regarding Measures 57 and 61 ? I think the question needs to be address as to who are the sponsoring entities behind each of these measures:
To my understanding, measure 61 is presented by our elected representatives in Salem ? and is presented to voters after long and careful consideration as to the implications of the measure if voted into law.
On the other hand, I don?t know who wrote Measure 61, except that Kevin Mannix is promoting it ? Kevin Mannix, a gubernatorial candidate who lost the election, but it appears now wants to push his agenda by ballot measure. Also, according to an article in the Oregonian, there is a wealthy sponsor for this and some other ballot measures who is not a resident of Oregon, but has poured tremendous sums of money into getting this and other ballot measures passed. And the advertising for this measure has used scare tactics to scare people into thinking that passage of measure 57 will put them at terrible risk. Measure 61 smells of a personal agenda pushed upon the people of Oregon by unscrupulous methods.
I think what Paul meant to say is that Measure 57 is presented by our elected representatives in Salem.
It is a myth that most drug/alcohol treatment works. This is a multi-billion dollar industry with a very high failure rate. 12 step programs, in particular have an extremely high failure rate and sadly, the majority of treatment centers follow this model. Treatment centers are mostly privately owned and operated and stand to make millions in profits should this measure pass. If one looks to current research, the most promising outcomes are found in behavior modification and harm-reduction programs. I am interested in knowing the methodology going in to selecting the programs that will be state funded. Let's follow the money here.
I am 40 plus years old. I am trained as a computer technician. My wife and I own real estate and I am a landlord. Two of my three children are special needs and I am a stay at home dad and a family advocate.
I have achieved this success in spite of multiple disabilities. PTSD from severe child abuse, loss of a leg as a teen ager, and autism/ADD.
The system treated my physical disabilities but instead of treating my mental issues they saw fit to throw me in jail several times which has lead to my 4th disability ... a criminal record.
According to measure 61 I should have also done 3 years in prison. Measure 57 still provides for very little mental health treatment that would reduce the symptom of substance abuse.
Accountability is not subjecting ones self to the violence of incarceration but learning from one's mistakes and taking corrective action.
Until mental health needs are addressed, until evidence based parenting methods are provided free of charge among other preventative measures, until poverty is addressed with decent health care; the proponents of these measures are avoiding accountability for the community as a whole and resorting to violence.
What really bothers me about these measures is the unfounded assumption that drug and alcohol treatment works. It doesn't. -- Not much, or very often.
During the radio program, one of the guests said that many treatment programs have a terrible failure rate -- like 75%. Another guest declared that he "strongly believed that treatment works."
Sorry, but fervent belief is not evidence that treatment works. But that is the kind of "evidence" that we get to support "treatment", and justify giving the "treatment centers" more of the public's tax dollars.
I can tell you from personal observation that the drug and alcohol treatment programs are expensive fraud. In December of 2000, I went through a drug and alcohol treatment program at PAAC, the local "Portland Alternate Addictions Center". The center used to be located at 12th and Morrison SW, but then they moved it to Burnside, near Broadway SW.
I went through that program voluntarily (not court-ordered -- I was not in trouble with the law), in trade for clean and safe housing, so that I wouldn't be homeless. The "treatment" consisted of three "group therapy" meetings per week where we sat around in a group and talked about getting high. Then they told us to go to at least three Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonyous meetings per week, which is just more sitting around talking (and bragging) about getting high. Then they stuck acupuncture needles in us and claimed that it reduced cravings. And they billed the Oregon Health Plan $1700 per person for that "treatment".
They never did a valid randomized longitudinal study to see whether the treatment really worked or made anybody get clean and sober. They just assumbed that it did, and billed accordingly. They did do one study, asking the clients if the acupunture reduced cravings for drugs and alcohol. When I told them that the acupuncture had no such effect on me, because I had also quit smoking, and was crawling the walls for a cigarette, the woman taking the answers said, "Well, we'll just put down that the acupuncture reduced the cravings." That was for a report to the city and state, to get more funding for the acupuncture. Obviously, the report of success was a fake.
Our group suffered a terrible attrition rate. Every week, there were fewer people left. When it got down to the last half dozen people, I began making jokes about it being a game of Survivor, and wondered who would be the last one on the island. I was pretty sure it was going to be me, because I was determined to live. You see, I had actually quit drinking two weeks before the so-called "treatment program" began, after my doctor gave me a stark choice, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." I thought it over real hard for a month, and then decided to live. I was working my own program and doing very well, thank you.
In fact, a few years later I ran into the woman who managed my housing when I was in the program. She told me that I was the only one left out of the whole group who still had not relapsed.
You are probably wondering how I am doing now. I'm happy to tell you that I just celebrated my 8th anniversary four days ago. That means 8 years clean and sober. And in three more weeks I will also have 8 years off of cigarettes.
But my so-called counselor in the PAAC treatment program didn't do so well. A year and a half after I "graduated", I ran into a fellow alumnus of the program, and he told me that our counselor had been arrested for child pornography. I asked around, and learned that there was a lot more to it than that. He was also arrested for two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and multiple counts of possession of cocaine. He had relapsed big time. They found cocaine in his car, at home, and in his office at PAAC. And then when they searched his computer at home, they found it loaded with child pornography. It seems that after he lectured the clients at PAAC, and told them how they needed a "Higher Power" in their recovery programs, he went home, snorted cocaine, and molested his step-children. He was convicted on all charges and sent to the Snake River Correctional Facility at Ontario, Oregon (near the Oregon/Idaho border).
And that's what you got for your tax money when the Oregon Health Plan paid for treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts.
And that is also what can happen when you assume that just any old addict is qualified to be a "drug and alcohol counselor".
You can read more about this story here:
You can read about the effectiveness of the 12-Step treatment programs (which 93% of the treatment centers in the USA use) here:
Thank you so much for posting this. I think that "Think Out Loud" ought to do a show on this national tragedy. Stanton Peele wrote an excellent book, "The Diseasing of America," which describes the phenomenon of learned helplessness. Treatment centers (most modeled off of 12 step programs) teach people that they are "powerless," "addicts for life," and "in need of a Higher Power to save them." Several State Supreme courts have ruled forced participation in AA programs unconstitutional due to their religious nature. If addiction is a medical disease, why is the cure a "spiritual awakening?" And why aren't people discussing this openly on shows such as this?!!!
"Treatment works," is an outright lie. The truth is ugly, but if Oregon Public Broadcasting won't offer an unbiased approach, who will? The problem seems to be that mentioning the failure rate and attributing it to 12 step programs seems un-PC. But if people looked just under the surface of 12 step programs, they will discover that AA/NA/CA, etc., are all nothing more than a set of psuedo-religious ideas proposed by a man in the thirties who was himself, high on belladonna. He stole the ideas from a long-defunct cult called the Oxford Group. And the truth is that these programs just don't work. They are also behind the fact that so many people are out of control. These ideas have infiltrated our society, and we have become a nation of helpless addicts. I wil not vote for any measure that does not show true science combined with longitudinal studies on the efficacy of the "treatment" programs chosen.
Thanks for the thanks. You bring up one point that I forgot to mention: that we really should have a measure on the ballot that requires that all programs or entities that claim to be "drug and alcohol treatment" must be rigorously tested in a medically valid manner, like a randomized longitudinal controlled study, to see whether the treatment actually works. Treatment should obviously be tested in the same manner as the FDA tests drugs. It is against the law to foist quack medicine on sick people, and yet, "treatment" is not tested by the FDA, so criminals can get away with selling a lot of quackery by calling it "treatment".
The way that the Oregon laws read now, frauds and con artists can bill people's health plans for "drug and alcohol treatment" that is a complete sham.
"Randomized longitudinal controlled study" means: the patients are randomly divided into two groups -- one that gets the medicine or treatment, and one that does not. The selection must be truly random -- pick names out of a hat or something. Give one group the treatment, and tell the other group that they can go home and do whatever they want to do. At the end of the lengthy test (--that's the long in "longitudinal" --), you compare the results from the two groups to see how much improvement the medicine or treatment produced.
If the results are the same for the two groups, then the medicine or treatment is worthless and didn't cure the patients at all.
If the treated group did much better than the untreated group, then the medicine or treatment is improving the condition.
If the treated group did worse than the untreated group, then the medicine or treatment is toxic and is poisoning the patients.
Twelve-Step treatment has been tested in such a manner several times, and it always failed the tests. In fact, 12-Step treatment did some very negative things like increase the rate of binge drinking, and increase the death rate in the patients.
I'm really surprised that the insurance companies haven't jumped on this. They could save a lot of money if they were not paying for fraud.
I believe 57 is the safer of the two measures when the ruling exists that if both get over 50% of the votes, the one with the most votes passes.
Where to do you take the money from??? Programs for the elderly, the schools, the moneies to keep our bridges and highways in good repair???? These are all good plans, maybe even neccessary plans, but without our commitment to fund them - the willingness to dig into our own pockets and find the money for them - they are just pipe dreams
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