Oregon’s mandatory sentencing law, known as Measure 11, has pushed a disproportionate number of black youths into the state’s adult criminal justice system, though often not for the crime for which they were originally indicted, reports the Oregonian. Though African Americans account for just 4 percent of the state’s youth population, they represent 19 percent of Measure 11 indictments.
The racial disparity is one of several findings in a new report, “Misguided Measures,” which asserts that Measure 11, which sets mandatory sentences for 21 violent crimes and mandates that youths charged with those crimes be tried as adults, has done nothing to reduce the juvenile crime rate and forces young people into adult jails. The analysis is a product of the Partnership for Safety and Justice, which has been critical of Measure 11 in the past, and the Campaign for Youth and Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates getting youth out of the adult system. The Oregon District Attorneys Association dismissed the report as “an opinion piece.”