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Support Oregon prisoners by contacting legislators before they vote to slash funding

Hey all, I am reposting this email from the Western Prison Project OCJRC to this site because I am pretty sure that the purpose of cutting funding for state and federal programs is being done mainly to ensure that privatization of these social programs will eventually become "necessary". In this case the issue is funding for prisons. This is a controversial subject, with no easy answers. Community supported infrastructure need to continue to grow to support prisoners behind bars as well as those who are released with little or no supports.
This particular email is about the cuts being proposed in the Oregon state legislature to the "Corrections"
budget, cuts that will cause the Oregon prison system to become even more abysmal than it already is... and
this means that even less support for people released from the criminal injustice system will be available upon their release...and
also that another recent proposal concerning earned "good time" (making early release possible) will not be considered at all.

More on prison funding and overcrowding issues at:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/07/268828.shtml

So, if you feel at all compassionate to those without a voice behind bars, those who will be affected by these cuts directly, then please cut and paste the talking points at the end, change a couple words maybe, change the order of the paragraphs at least, and email these to the listed elected reps.
It might help.

For those of us who believe that the prison system should simply be abolished, please remember that cutting government
funding will likely only ensure that neither reform nor abolition will happen at any point in the near future.

If funding continues to be cut, Prisons will simply be privatized.


--- Oregon Criminal Justice Reform Coalition < ocjrc@westernprisonproject.org> wrote:
> Subject: Action Alert -- the Session that Won't End
> Dear Friends,
> Many of you have been calling and writing asking what's going on in the legislature, and with the earned time proposal and the budget for prison programs. In a nutshell—It's like "The Song That Never Ends"
> As you may have read in the newspapers last week, there was a serious melt-down at the capitol as house Speaker Karen
> Minnis, Governor Kulongoski and House Democratic leader Deb Kafoury exchanged nasty letters and public comments accusing each other of breaking faith with negotiations, further endangering any efforts to get a good budget out of the Legislature.
> As the Legislature moves toward the longest session in Oregon's history, work on the Corrections budget has stalled. Insiders
> tell us that the House Republicans have held up action on a number of public safety budgets as leveraging tools to get what they want.
> Unfortunately, what they want is rarely good for our side. Our most recent news is that the Joint Ways and Means Committee will be split, and that House Republicans will begin passing budgets this week or early next week.
> Our latest information also indicates that the House Republicans have proposed an additional cut of $3 million to prison
> programs. That's on top of the $5 million cut in prison programs approved by the Public Safety Subcommittee. While there has been no public
> agreement on this (nor any legislation actually drafted) this issue is apparently on the table. Below you will find an update on what has passed out of
> the public safety subcommittee, but once again, all bets are off and things are very fluid.
> Truth is, things are changing every day as one side or the other fires a salvo. Anger has replaced reason and this truly may become "the session
> that never ends."
> The budget that passed out of public safety did not include earned time or transitional leave expansion, and insiders are
> telling us those issues are not likely to move this session. The focus from the few moderate republicans who might otherwise be pushing for an earned time expansion seems to be on trying to find new revenue. But it's not over til it's over
> and we have not given up hope! We need to keep the pressure on.
> What can we do?
> We believe we should continue to push for the earned time/transitional leave expansion, but it must be done carefully as to
> not endanger the already endangered program budget, as well as not give the republicans any leverage to ignore seeking new revenue for schools
> and other essential services. Please contact the legislators listed as we continue to push for safe and sensible criminal justice reform.
> Talking Points:
> * We oppose any further reductions to prison programs. The budget that passed out of the Public Safety subcommittee reduced
> prison programs by $5 million. Now there appears to be an effort in the House to get an additional $3 million in prison program cuts. This
> is short-sighted and dangerous to public safety as offenders will not even receive basic education and job training so essential for them to
> be successful when they are released, as 95% of all prisoners are.

> * As a taxpayer, I believe the need for new revenue is essential to protect important services in our state. However, I
> also believe that finding effective savings is vital to solving the current budget crisis.

> * I support the limited expansion of earned time and transitional leave as proposed in the original co-chairs budget. Not
> only would this modest expansion save $12 to $15 million and free up some 400 or more beds, DOC's own statistics indicate successful earned time programs actually reduce recidivism.

> * That seems like a win-win for us all --- save millions of dollars, free up bed space and reduce recidivism. I encourage you to work toward
> expansion of earned time and transitional leave as one effective, sensible and safe way of finding savings in this current
> budget climate.


> Legislators to Contact NOW:
> Sen. Peter Courtney (D, Dist. 11), Senate President
> Capitol ph. # 503-986-1711 / Room # S-203 / Email:
>  sen.petercourtney@state.or.us
> Sen. Kate Brown, Senate Democrat Leader (D, Dist.
> 21) Phone: 503/986-1700,
> Room #S-323,
> Email :  sen.katebrown@state.or.us
> Sen. Kurt Schrader, Ways and Means co-chair (D,
> Dist. 20), Phone:
> 503/986-1720, Room # S-305,
> email:  sen.kurtschrader@state.or.us
> Rep. Karen Minnis (R, Dist. 49), Speaker of the
> House
> Capitol ph. # 503-986-1200 / Room 269 / Email:
>  rep.karenminnis@state.or.us
> Rep. Deborah Kafoury, House Democrat Leader (D,
> Dist. 43), Capitol Phone:
> 503/986-1900, Room #H395,
> email:  rep.deborahkafoury@state.or.us
> Rep. Max Williams (R, Dist. 35), Chair, House
> Judiciary Committee
> Capitol ph. #503-986-1435 / Room #H-276 / Email:
>  rep.maxwilliams@state.or.us
> Rep. Lane Shetterly (R, Dist. 23), Capitol ph. #
> 503/986-1423, Room # H-277,
> email:  rep.laneshetterly@state.or.us

> You are receiving this message because you are
> signed up for the Action
> Alert list of the Oregon Criminal Justice Reform
> Coalition. You can see the
> most current information about our campaigns on the
> web at
< http://www.westernprisonproject.org/Oregon>www.westernprisonproject.org/Oregon.
> You can be deleted from this list at anytime by
> sending a message to
<mailto: kathleen@westernprisoproject.org> kathleen@westernprisoproject.org
> Oregon Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
> c/o Western Prison Project
> PO Box 40085 Portland, OR 97240
> (503) 335-8449 ///// (503) 232-1922 fax
<mailto: ocjrc@westernprisonproject.org> ocjrc@westernprisonproject.org