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Bill Would Move Juvenile Defendants Out Of Adult Jail May 7, 2011

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Oregon locks up some juveniles in adult jails while they’re awaiting trial. Lawmakers are close to signing off on a bill to change that.

The state Senate could vote as soon as Monday, but some are questioning the cost of moving those defendants to juvenile facilities.

Oregon’s Measure 11 creates mandatory minimum sentences for certain violent crimes. It also requires youth accused of Measure 11 crimes to be tried as adults.

That means while these teenagers are awaiting trial, some counties put them in adult jails. That’s despite the fact that if they’re convicted, they’ll live in a juvenile detention center.

Youth offender advocates say 16 and 17 year olds are at risk during their time in adult jail, which can last months.

Shannon Wight is with the Partnership for Safety and Justice.

Shannon Wight: “It’s kind of a glaring inconsistency in our law then these young people when they’re first arrested and just charged with a crime are being subjected to an adult jail.”

A lobbyist who represents county-level juvenile detention centers says the group supports moving teens accused of Measure 11 crimes to youth facilities. But she says the agencies are concerned about the expense.

The group says it costs twice as much to house an inmate at a juvenile center than at an adult jail.

Oregon House Bill 2707:


Oregon Juvenile Department Directors Association explain its position:




1. sharon - May 15, 2011

My grandson was put in a adult jail….also when he reported for his first probation…he went to their office…which does not allow anyone under 18 to be there..His Dad was told to leave.
Does anyone know if it’s common to have 3 different judges for 3 different court appearance’s??
Thanks, Sharon

2. DAA - June 7, 2011

So glad this passed. Unfortunately it comes too late for my son who spent 6 months locked in a cell for 23 hours a day. I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon Wight and she is a wonderful advocate for our children. Many thanks go to her for her hard work. I’m glad to know that children now don’t need to go through the traumatic experience of adult jail.