by Chris Lehman
A new report claims that Oregon's Measure 11 sentencing law disproportionately pushes black youth into the adult criminal justice system. Measure 11 mandates compulsory sentencing for most violent crimes. And if you're a youth, it means you're tried as an adult.
The group Partnership for Safety and Justice says its research shows that while African-Americans account for just four percent of Oregon's youth, they comprise 19 percent of juvenile Measure 11 indictments. Nationally, black youth have a greater chance of being arrested than youth of other races.
But the report found that when black youth are arrested in Oregon, they're three times as likely to be indicted for a Measure 11 offense than white youth arrested for the same crimes.
Oregon District Attorneys contest the findings. They point to an earlier study that suggests Measure 11 did not worsen existing racial inequities in the criminal justice system.
The findings come as Governor John Kitzhaber has commissioned a group to study Oregon's sentencing laws
On the Web:
Partnership for Safety and Justice study:
Commission for Comprehensive Sentencing Reform: