Kitzhaber Moves Ahead With Look At Oregon's Public Safety System

May 14, 2012

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber hopes a newly revived public safety commission will lead to big changes in the state's criminal justice system. The Democrat issued an executive order Monday that brings back to life a blue ribbon panel created by his predecessor, Ted Kulongoski.

Oregon's prison population is expected to grow by another 2,000 by the end of the decade. Kitzhaber's public safety adviser, Steven Powers, says the governor thinks Oregon needs to take a close look at everything from mandatory sentences to drug rehabilitation programs.

Steven Powers: "We haven't had a comprehensive look at public safety. We've had individual ballot measures or legislative changes to different pieces of it, and what really has to happen is a comprehensive look."

The previous public safety commission issued a report last December shortly before it was dissolved. Members stopped short of calling for a repeal of the mandatory minimum sentencing law approved by Oregon voters in 1994. But the panel did call for more flexibility on jail time for some crimes.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the web:

Governor’s executive order:

Previous commission’s report to the governor: