There is little doubt that a criminal justice reform philosophy is embedded in Oregon’s governing. Let me provide some examples. Multnomah County isn’t funding corrections as several sections of the jail are closed. DA Mike Schmidt doesn’t advocate for victims or prosecution, and would rather engage in “restorative justice.” Our legislature passes bills such as SB 819 that cut sentencing by one-half. And let’s not forget, that our former Governor Kate Brown released over 1,000 inmates for clemency, more than all other governors combined in Oregon’s history. Kate Brown once said she was “saving lives” by giving these commutations.

What if an inmate convicted of a Measure 11 violent crime (which carries with it a mandatory minimum of at least seven years in prison with no chance of early release) was given clemency by our former Governor and signed off by DA Mike Schmidt? What if this man went on to murder multiple vulnerable women in the Portland area and dumped their bodies off of various highways? You may remember when Kate Brown released 41 inmates in 2021 for helping firefighters put out the 2020 state wildfires. This person may have been one of those who had their sentences commuted.

Do we tell the families of these young women what really happened, or do we hope that they are so stricken with grief that they don’t ask? Kate and Mike gave a violent criminal his freedom, but in the process, the lives of several vulnerable women were ended in the most horrific of means. I wonder if their families feel as if justice was restored. But, hey, at least we are compassionate and support criminal justice reform, right?

More to come.

Angela Todd
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