Today Governor Ted Kulongoski was joined by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court to sign Executive Order 10-12 creating a Commission on Public Safety, a recommendation from the Governor's Reset Cabinet with respect to public safety.
The Commission will be led by representatives from all three branches of state government and is charged with evaluating current public safety policies and practices and to develop recommendations for comprehensive sentencing reform for consideration by the state legislature and people of Oregon.
"This commission is an opportunity for the heads of the three branches of government, as well as the citizens of Oregon, to take stock of our current public safety system with its successes and challenges and to chart a path for the future," said Governor Ted Kulongoski. "In the midst of this economic crisis, we must take a strategic look at our sentencing policies. With limited dollars, we must ensure the public's safety by making smart investments across our adult and juvenile justice systems that are also sustainable through good and bad economic times."
The Commission will develop specific recommendations for consideration by the governor, legislature and citizens of Oregon with a focus on four core outcomes: 1) the safety of our citizens in their homes and communities; 2) accountability for criminal offenses; 3) an efficient system that controls costs; and 4) a system that is smart and fair.
"Any concepts developed must put the safety of our citizens as the top priority and ensure individuals who commit crimes are held accountable" the Governor said. "At the same time, we must focus on building a smart and efficient system that maximizes our public safety dollars in light of the current economic environment."
The last comprehensive review of sentencing policy in Oregon was in 1989 and since then, state sentencing policies have been developed by separate legislative actions and ballot measures without a comprehensive strategy. These two processes have created policies that are independent and, in some cases, inconsistent with each other and with little uniformity between the two.
"Oregon's courts work every day to provide timely, efficient, and fair processes that protect individual rights and public safety," said Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz. "I appreciate the Governor's invitation to help state government preserve its core functions and maintain an effective public safety system."
The Commission will consist of no more than six members, including the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court or his designee, The Governor of Oregon or his designee; The Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, or the Speaker's designee; The President of the Oregon Senate, or the President's designee; a member of the Oregon House of Representatives who is also not a member of the same political party as the Speaker, appointed by the Speaker and a member of the Oregon Senate who is also not a member of the same political party as the President, appointed by the President.
All members will serve at the pleasure of their appointing authorities. The chair of the Commission will be appointed by the Governor and will serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The chair shall develop a work plan, set the agenda and provide leadership and direction for the Commission.
The Commission will produce a report to be delivered to the governor, legislature and citizens of Oregon by December 15, 2011.