After incarceration, wrongfully-convicted Oregonians face immense challenges that impact their ability to survive, including the financial resources needed for housing, transportation, healthcare, mental health support, and other basic needs. SB 1584 is an opportunity for Oregon to join 37 other states in creating a universal framework that provides much-needed financial redress — and some justice in a situation of great injustice — to eligible exonerees.
Wrongful criminal convictions dramatically harm the lives of innocent people in Oregon. After incarceration, wrongfully-convicted Oregonians face many immense challenges including financial ones that affect their ability to survive. Financial resources are needed for housing, transportation, healthcare, mental health support, and other basic needs. Wrongfully-convicted individuals also face missed educational and career opportunities and no or little retirement savings due to inability to save during prison. Some wrongfully-convicted individuals continue to struggle with a criminal conviction being reflected on their record despite their innocence.
With SB 1584, the Oregon Legislature has the opportunity to remedy a small part of the financial harm experienced by wrongfully-convicted Oregonians. In fact, currently, Oregon is one of only 13 states that does not compensate wrongfully-convicted people; right now, the only way for wrongfully-convicted Oregonians to get financial redress is through civil lawsuits that are costly and time consuming for these wrongfully-convicted Oregonians and the state too. By creating a universal framework for providing much-needed financial compensation to eligible exonerees, SB 1584 also helps create some redress for Oregonians who have experienced the great injustice of a wrongful conviction.