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Another View July 9, 2008

Posted by FairSentencing in : Effects of Measure 11 , trackback

Here’s a letter to the editor of The Daily Astorian dated June 12:

It’s so difficult to convey to people what prison is like, and how it affects families ("Debunking myths about Oregon’s Measure 11," The Daily Astorian, June 12).

Until you live through it, the misconceptions abound – everything from the inmates just sitting around watching TV and being fed three good meals a day, with all their health care needs being met, etc., to the idea that prison is a violent, dangerous environment with rapes and gang wars going on.

No, inmates do not sit around watching TV all day, most of us would not eat the food they are served and medical care is minimal at best, but mostly nonexistent. Yes, it can be dangerous, but so is living in the outside world.

Measure 11 takes punishment to a level way beyond any constructive benefit to the inmate or society. Prison is about loss of freedom for an adequate amount of time. To add on a punitive phase, and keep a person behind bars for an extended period of time as Measure 11 allows, serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.

I would say you would be hard pressed to find an ex-felon who could honestly say that their life got back on track because of their extended incarceration under Measure 11.

Debbi Lester
Vancouver, Wash.



1. kiah - October 9, 2008

Debbi, Thank you for your efforts to educate the public of the harsh realities of measure 11 and the prison conditions. I would really like to use your piece in a book I am about to publish. If you would be so inclined, please reply and get in contact via my email address. My publisher can send you forms and a query letter and info about the book. Look forward to hearing from you.

2. kiah - October 9, 2008

Just another point I would like to add. If measure 61 passes, that money that goes to school will be taken for the public saftey and prisond instead. This will leave the most needy students with out haveing their needs met even worse than it already is. Then these kids who dont get their educational needs met, ( the learning diabled, emotionaly disabled, and the physically disabled), will grow up with out , ( and the No child left behind law) not being met either. These same kids make up a huge maojority of the jail and prison population when they are adults. They have fallen through the cracks. So, measure 11 and the new measures if passed dont only hurt the children in our schools now , but it hurts their future and the tax payers future as well. I would hate to think that this is planned out by our government. But it is something I dont see printed or spoke about . Cant we all see the picture as a whole? Why is it so crystal clear to me? This is child abuse that follows the childs his / her whole life though. And to top it off it is abuse by our own system that should protect them.

3. Anita Mendez - December 28, 2008

Measure 11 is just a tool for the district attorney’s to win a case or make a name for themselves. It has nothing to do with justice or what’s fair. They are abusing measure 11 to benefit themselves, not the public’s safety. My sons case had 6 different people that were being accused of a crime and the district attorney turned them all against each other and was gambling with their lives like they were no longer human beings. People sometimes get into situations that can’t be helped until it’s too late, but the crime doesn’t mean that that person is an evil person. My son had never been in prison before and was sentence to 20 years in prison and one of the other people that were accused of the same crime received 10 years, but because the DA found him more helpful is why he received less time.

4. Micheal D. Reel - February 24, 2009

I’m locked up in a youth correctional facility for self defense in which the state of Oregon committed as an assault 2. I’m only serving 24 months and 5 years mandatory post prison, but for only being 17 at the time, and living on the streets of Medford Oregon sleeping under bridges, I feel that I got screwed out of a life with my 1 year old baby and time to fix my life on my own. Now Being in county jail at 17, and now (18) going to Chemeketa Community College online, I’m writing a proposal to abolish measures like 11.
Our state is closing down correctional facilities in the O.Y.A because they don’t have the money to keep up with the ever increasing population in the prison system. I feel that if the measures like 11 where abolished that our state would have the money to help the youth of the next generation who make a mistake and can get the treatment to help them change there lives. We can’t do that with an overfull youth and prison population, and the state having to release people because they don’t have the space and money to support all of the in Oregon. For example the state of Oregon is closing down Burns, a 50 bed unit in both Hillcrest (intake for O.Y.A), and McLerian, and removing treatment groups in the O.Y.A. The groups there lacking for reasons like; no money to hire treatment providers % Offender treatment), no money to pay staff overtime for holding group (Anger Replacement Training, Pathways Ext.). No money to hire staff to cover the units so staffs that do group can get it done.