Home Our Work Our Publications Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | OR

Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | OR

Oregon: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 



  • Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) — Oregon Allows Legislators to Request Racial and Ethnic Impact Statements for Juvenile Justice Legislation: The Oregon Legislature passed a bill allowing lawmakers to request racial and ethnic impact statements for any criminal justice, juvenile justice, or child welfare-related bill. Upon written request from one member of the Legislative Assembly from each major political party, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission must produce a racial and ethnic impact statement for the bill in question. Such a statement must be “impartial, simple, and understandable,” and include an estimate of how the legislation would change the racial and ethnic composition of the targeted population, a statement of methodologies and assumptions used in preparing the estimate, and, if applicable, an estimate of the racial and ethnic composition of the crime victims who may be affected by the proposed legislation. The law is intended to help eliminate the severely disparate racial and ethnic impacts of the three systems. S.B. 463/Act No. 600, signed into law July 1, 2013; effective January 1, 2014.
  • Probation, Parole, and Reentry — Oregon Authorizes Work Release Program for Youth with Criminal Convictions Who Are Confined in Youth Facilities: New legislation authorizes the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) to establish a work release program for youth who are committed to the Department of Corrections, but in the physical custody of OYA. The legislation allows youth to leave facilities for employment, additional education, substance abuse programs, mental health programs, or programs to help develop independent living skills. Youth who have been convicted of more serious offenses are excluded from the program. S.B. 188/Act No. 229, signed into law and effective May 23, 2013.
  • Youth in the Adult System — Oregon Continues to Limit Placement of Youth in Adult Facilities: A new law in Oregon authorizes the county sheriff to send a youth sentenced to the custody of the Department of Corrections directly to a youth correctional facility if the youth was under 20 years of age at the time of sentencing and under 18 years of age at the time of the offense. The change allows youth to bypass adult intake. The law follows on the heels of H.B. 2707, passed in 2011, which established juvenile detention facilities as the default place of pre-trial confinement for youth who are facing adult criminal charges. H.B. 3183, signed into law and effective June 11, 2013.

Back to the top »



  • Confidentiality and Expungement — Oregon Facilitates Expungement of Youth Prostitution Records: Oregon law now requires expungement of juvenile records for prostitution offenses committed by youth under age 18. Such records may be expunged upon motion of the youth, the juvenile department, or the court, without a waiting period, and without a hearing if no objection is filed. H.B. 4146/Act No. 23, signed into law and effective March 5, 2012.

Back to the top »



  • Juvenile Defense and Court Process — Court Limits Shackling and Strip Searching of Youth: A circuit court judge in Yamhill County, Oregon issued a ruling on February 7, 2011 limiting the shackling of youth in custody. The judge held that youth may be shackled in the courtroom and during video appearances only when it is necessary to prevent escape, injury, or destruction. The shackling may last only as long as such danger exists. The presiding judge in the case must make the decision on shackling, based on specific indications of danger. The court additionally held that youth may be reasonably restrained when transported to and from court, but such restraint may not include full-scale shackling without prior judicial approval. The court also addressed strip searching in the case, ruling that strip searches may not be routinely conducted after visits and court appearances; searches must be restricted to those situations in which there is a reasonable suspicion that the youth might have acquired contraband.
  • Youth in the Adult System — Youth in Oregon Must Be Held in Juvenile Detention Pre-Trial, Rather than Adult Jails: A new Oregon law makes juvenile detention the default place to hold youth charged as adults pre-trial. The bill addressed a glaring inconsistency in Oregon law, through which such youth were to be held in adult jail before trial and in youth facilities after conviction. The law—which could benefit nearly 100 youth per year—is a part of ongoing efforts to address Oregon laws that automatically waive youth into the adult system. H.B. 2707/Ch. 122, signed into law and effective May 19, 2011.
  • Sex Offender Laws and Registries — Legislature Alleviates Some Registration Requirements for Youth Convicted of Sex Offenses: The Oregon State Legislature modified the relief process for youth convicted of sex offenses and required to register as sex offenders. Under the new law, youth adjudicated of misdemeanor offenses will no longer be required to register, and the Oregon State Police must remove within one year those youth previously required to register for misdemeanors. Additionally, the law allows youth adjudicated of a Class C felony to apply for removal from the registry within 30 days prior to the case’s closure in juvenile court. Lastly, for youth convicted of Class A or Class B felonies, the law reduces the waiting period to apply for removal from the registry from three years to two years. S.B. 408/Ch. 271, signed into law and effective June 7, 2011.
  • Facility Closures and Downsizing — Oregon Youth Authority Moves Youth from Secure Facilities to Community Placements: Due to budget constraints, the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) reduced its “close-custody”—or secure—capacity from approximately 500 beds to 350. Simultaneously, the legislature allocated funding for the addition of 103 community placements. Between July and November of 2011, OYA transitioned some youth from its secure facilities into these less-restrictive community residential placements. In an effort to ensure continuity of services, despite changes in placement, youth continued to be served by the same probation parole officer they had prior to the move.
  • Oregon Youth Authority and Oregon Department of Corrections Stop Temporarily Housing Youth in Adult Prison: The Oregon Youth Authority and Oregon Department of Corrections have agreed to streamline the placement of youth convicted as adults. Prior to the change, 16- and 17-year-olds convicted as adults were sent to an adult facility for approximately one week to complete the evaluation and intake process, before being moved to a youth facility to serve all or part of the imposed sentence. Youth at the adult facility were forced to spend 23 hours a day in isolation in order to maintain sight and sound separation from the adults. Such conditions can increase anxiety, paranoia, and suicide risk; additionally, youth who are held in adult facilities are at an increased risk of physical and sexual victimization. As of December 15, 2011, all youth sentenced as adults will go directly to a youth intake facility.

Back to the top »



  • Alternatives to Detention and Youth Prisons — Oregon Develops Wraparound Initiative to Provide Youth Services: New legislation requires the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Youth Authority, Department of Human Services, State Commission on Children and Families, and other agencies to participate in a wraparound initiative to support the family and youth they serve. Agencies are expected to implement the initiative by 2015 through local governance structures and systems of care, support of the expansion of community-based services, and provision of strengths-based services for individual youth and families. Agencies must also ensure cultural competence in the services they provide. H.B. 2144/Ch. 540, signed into law June 25, 2009; effective January 1, 2010.
  • Interrogations and Confessions — Custodial Interviews of Youth Charged as Adults Must Be Electronically Recorded: Oregon law now requires a custodial interview by a peace officer in a law enforcement facility to be electronically recorded if the interview is conducted in connection with an investigation of aggravated murder, crimes requiring the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence, or crimes requiring adult prosecution of youth offenders. The law allows unrecorded statements into evidence, but requires that the judge give the jury instructions concerning the fact that the statement was not recorded. S.B. 309/Ch. 488, signed into law June 24, 2009; effective January 1, 2010.
  • Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) — Portland Public School District Adopts Policy that Requires Monitoring and Reduction of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in School Discipline: In June 2009, Oregon’s largest urban school district, Portland Public Schools, established a new policy and committed to pilot projects in 10 schools to reduce the use of suspension and expulsion and, in particular, to reduce racial disparities in school discipline. The policy acknowledges the link between student achievement and discipline practices and states its interest in eliminating disparities in applying discipline. The policy also states that “discipline should start at the lowest possible level reasonably calculated to change the student’s behavior and to minimize the loss of instructional time” and explicitly discourages discipline practices that exclude youth from class.

Back to the top »

Having trouble viewing the PDFs linked above in your Google Chrome web browser? Try opening the page using another web browser, such as Firefox. Alternatively, here are instructions on how to fix the problem in your Chrome browser.

Back to the top »

Photo: Wolfram Burner, under Creative Commons License.