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Misguided Measures: The Outcomes and Impacts of Measure 11 on Oregon's Youth

NCJ Number
Jason Ziedenberg; Imran Ahmad; Shannon Wight
Date Published
July 2011
92 pages
This report from the Campaign for Youth Justice examines the outcomes and impacts of Measure 11, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 1994, on Oregon's youth.
In November 1994, the Oregon Legislature passed Measure 11, a set of mandatory minimum sentences for 16 crimes that required youth charged with those crimes to be tried as adults. More crimes were eventually added to the Measure, and today the law states that youth aged 15 and older and charged with 1 of the 21 crimes identified in the law, be automatically prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system and, if convicted, to receive the same mandatory sentence that applies to adult offenders. The report examined data on 3,274 young people indicted with Measure 11 offenses since 1995. A subset of 759 cases was identified for the years 2006 through 2008 to examine how the current law is being implemented in 36 counties in the State. The analysis identified seven major findings: 1) Measure 11 for juveniles has not made Oregonians any safer; 2) most youth do not have the benefit of an impartial judge evaluating their case, and in 92 percent of the cases, the prosecutor made the final decision; 3) many youth charged with Measure 11 offenses are not the most serious youthful offenders; 4) when a young person is charged with a Measure 11 crime, he or she can spend time in an adult jail; 5) Measure 11 has had significant costs for all Oregonians, but it has different impacts on communities of color; 6) few youth have benefited from an opportunity to receive a "second look" hearing; and 7) youth convicted in the adult criminal system have lifelong barriers to becoming productive citizens. The report also discusses recommendations for reassessment of Measure 11. 7 tables, 12 figures, and 64 references