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OR Voters Pass New Prison Laws

On November 8, 1994, Oregon voters passed three criminal justice measures that will cost millions to implement. Measure 10 requires a two thirds vote by the legislature before it can change voter approved prison sentences.

Measure 11 imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences on defendants convicted of violent offenses and bars early release. The laws apply to adults and juveniles over the age of 15. The measure is currently projected to require 6,085 new prison beds by 2001 and 3,010 more by 2005. Analysts state that construction costs for the first five year period will be $461 million. Operations costs will steadily increase, from an additional $3.2 million in 1995-96, to $100 million a year by 2001. Oregon currently holds about 6,600 prisoners.

Measure 17 requires prisoners to work 40 hours a week and allows prison workshops to compete with private businesses. These programs will cost an estimated $40.2 million to implement in 1995-97 and $10.9 million for equipment, inventory and construction of work facilities. Kevin Mannix, the Democratic state legislator who sponsored the measures stated "This is just the beginning in pushing back crime in Oregon."


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