Is Oregon Tough On Young Criminals?

BEND, OR – All around the State, more than 6,700 children are in jail. Advocacy groups want to grab the attention towards what, according to them, is unfair punishment for juveniles under Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Almost 3% of juvenile offenders in the state are serving that type of sentence.

Cassandra Villanueva with the Partnership for Safety and Justice said there are a large number of young individuals locked up without an alternative to get them on the right path.”Young people who commit crimes, they need to be held accountable, but accountable as what they are, children, not adults. And like all other young people, they need to be given the greatest opportunities to succeed that we can give them”.

Villanueva also said that Oregon could be doing a better job funding the social and community services that assist in stopping the crime and support victims of crime.”You know, research suggests that for youth, being a victim of crime in the previous year was related to committing a violent offense. And so, we believe that we have to invest in helping people harmed by crime and violence, rebuild their lives”.

Proponents of the mandatory minimum laws said that they were created to be tough on crime, but Villanueva said that they aren’t making communities secure, while branding kids with criminal records that do them more harm than good in adulthood.

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John Reade

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