Maximizing the Potential for True Measure 11 Reform

On September 19, 2015, I used a Power Point presentation, available here in PDF (9-15 Presentation), during a speaking engagement at a joint meeting of the organizations Reform Measure 11: Time Does Not Fit the Crime and Oregon CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants). The meeting was held at the Meridian United Church of Christ in Wilsonville, Oregon.

The presentation, “Maximizing the Chances of Obtaining True Measure 11 Reform,” provides background on sentencing theory, the limitations on using criminal sentencing to achieve public-safety goals, and the political and legal challenges in obtaining meaningful reform in Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentence law, Ballot Measure 11 (adopted in 1994).

Veteran Incarceration Article

The fall 2014 edition of the Justice Policy Journal, published by the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, contains my article Home Free: Combatting Veteran Prosecution and Incarceration. The following is the abstract of that 26-page article:

After nearly 13 years of warfare, hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans face social problems such as unemployment, homelessness, and suicide. But from the perspective of a criminal-defense practitioner, the most pressing disorder is the one that historical antecedents foretold: veterans facing prosecution and incarceration for various sorts of conduct that may be classified as criminal.

So often these social disorders are symptoms of training and experience in the military, particularly for those who saw combat and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or both. Moreover, strategic miscalculations in the war effort exacerbated these disorders, as have the facts that virtually the entire nation decided to excuse itself from physically participating in the war effort, and the nation decided that the effort was not even worth paying for.

As a result of these miscalculations and decisions, the agency charged with reintegrating veterans into civilian society—the Department of Veterans Affairs—is inadequately funded. That lack of funding, coupled with the agency’s own forms of mismanagement, have left it incapable of providing hundreds of thousands of veterans the rehabilitative services that a moral society would demand.

 Were the nation now to accept its obligations as a moral society, it would accord the proper respect to and understanding of the demands and consequences of military service. It would find compassion, instead of antipathy, for its beleaguered veterans. Following that, the nation would provide the resources necessary to meet the demands of a moral society that is committed to aiding its beleaguered veterans in reclaiming their civilian lives.