Prisoners' Rights

The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years. It now tops two million. It arose from decades of policies that toughened sentencing laws and emphasized an American war on drugs.

This has left our facilities overcrowded, the medical systems overwhelmed and the work, education, and treatment programs inadequate. The consequence is idleness and stress that leads to greater levels of violence. We are working to change these conditions through successful litigation on behalf of prisoners.

Litigation

Shepherd v. Oregon Youth Authority

Imprisoned Seventh Day Adventist Allowed to Attend Service

July 13, 2009 - Levi Shepherd is a Seventh Day Adventist inmate of MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, which is administered by the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA).  As a Seventh Day Adventist, Mr. Shepherd wants to attend religious services on Saturdays, his Sabbath.OYA does not provide Seventh Day Adventist clergy or services.

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Burkett et al v. County of Jackson et al

September 2005 - Our settlement with Jackson County officials over a strip search of female inmates that occurred two years ago has now been finalized.

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Legislation

ACLU Endorses New Approach Campaign to Regulate and Legalize Marijuana

June 17, 2014 - “We need to stop wasting taxpayer dollars arresting and searching people in Oregon just because they use marijuana,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Prohibition hasn’t worked and it never will. It’s time to be honest about that and take a path that makes sense.”

The New Approach Oregon campaign is collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot. The initiative would strictly regulate marijuana sales and possession, legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 and over only, and tax marijuana and its products, generating money for important public services like education, public safety and drug treatment

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EQUAL PROTECTION: Private Prisons (HB 3682) (2011)

Near the end of the session, HB 3682 was introduced (on behalf of the Judiciary Committee so we do not know who proposed it). It would have authorized the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) to send inmates to out-of-state private prisons.

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