Karen James speaks with Zach Winston, Policy Director with Oregon Justice Resource Center, an organization that promotes civil rights and improves legal representation for underserved communities. Zach Winston discusses OJRC’s priorities for the 2021 Oregon legislative session.
In addition to its legislative agenda, OJRC has filed lawsuits over handling of COVID-19 in prisons and against the indiscriminate use of tear gas by police at protests:
Prisons are a hotspot for COVID-19 cases in Oregon. OJRC clients who are plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit over the handling of COVID-19 in prisons asked a federal court to compel Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) to vaccinate all people in custody who want it against the virus. On February 2, 2021, a federal court ordered Governor Kate Brown and the ODOC to offer vaccination against COVID-19 to people in prison as soon as possible.
In January 2021 OJRC attorney Juan Chavez argued in court for a ban on the use of FN 303s by Portland Police after a federal judge ruled PPB was in contempt of his June 26 order restricting use of less-lethal munitions during protests. OJRC’s client Don't Shoot PDX sued the City of Portland in June 2020 over indiscriminate use of tear gas by police at protests.
OJRC’s Legislative agenda includes:
HB2825 Requires sentencing court to consider as mitigation evidence defendant was subjected to domestic abuse that was significant factor in criminal behavior. HB2825 (oregonlegislature.gov)
HB2912 Extends sunset of pilot program for provision of legal services to adults in custody serving sentences at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. HB2912 (oregonlegislature.gov)
HB2932 Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish statewide database of reports of use of physical force by peace officers and corrections officers. HB2932 (oregonlegislature.gov)
HB3145 Directs Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to establish publicly available database of certain information about misconduct and discipline of public safety employees established by department. HB3145 (oregonlegislature.gov)
SB422 Eliminates fees and court costs associated with juvenile delinquency matters. SB0422 (oregonlegislature.gov)
SB499 Creates civil claim for wrongful conviction. SB0499 (oregonlegislature.gov)
SB571 Allows persons convicted of felony to register to vote, update voter registration and vote in elections while incarcerated. SB0571 (oregonlegislature.gov)
SB575 Modifies procedure for expunction of certain juvenile records. SB0575 (oregonlegislature.gov)
HB2932-OJRC Testimony HB+2932+Testimony+1.27.21.pdf (squarespace.com)
Vote from Prison Oregon Bill Would Enable People to Vote from Prison - The Appeal
Youth Rights & Justice Youth Rights Justice
COVID lawsuit 178+Order+and+Opinion.pdf (squarespace.com)