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JRI Years: 2013, 2019



Between 2000 and 2012, Oregon’s prison population increased nearly 50 percent and was projected to grow by an additional 2,300 people by 2022 at a cost of $600 million. The state embarked on JRI in 2012 with technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Crime and Justice Institute to address prison population growth and reduce costs. The review of data, policies, and practices by the Commission on Public Safety showed that the state’s imprisonment rate had grown eight times faster than the national average and that time served in prison for drug offenses was up 20 percent, as was time spent for probation violations. The Commission’s policy recommendations were intended to bolster evidence-based community supervision practices, prioritize prison beds for people convicted of serious and violent offenses, and establish performance and outcome measures for criminal justice agencies, among other provisions.


The legislature passed House Bill 3194, which was signed into law by then-Governor John Kitzhaber in 2013 to address prison growth and save taxpayers significant prison construction and operating costs, improve community supervision practices, and reduce costs. The bill made sentencing changes to reduce prison populations and prioritize beds for people convicted of serious and violent offenses, increased the use of evidence-based community supervision practices, and established performance metrics to track criminal justice outcomes. The law also “redirected nearly $58 million over two years toward public safety improvements, including investment in victim services, sheriff’s departments, and community corrections.”1


House Bill 3194 resulted in a significant expansion of a short-term transitional leave (STTL) program that allowed for people to serve out the end of their sentences in the community. Between 2014 and 2019, more than 8,000 people were released on STTL, saving the state the cost of more than half a million prison bed days, while also seeing a reduction in recidivism rates compared to a matched group who remained in prison.2 

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment in Oregon.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Establish/expand presumptive probation for some offenses
  • Revise mandatory minimums
  • Expand good-time/earned-time prison credits/reentry leave
  • Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
  • Authorize performance incentive funding
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Reform/establish specialty courts or diversion programs
  • Require fiscal impact statements
  • Require data collection/performance measures
  • Establish/extend oversight council



In 2018, Oregon was facing significant challenges to its behavioral health system that impacted the state’s criminal justice system. The state had one of the highest rates in the nation of people with mental illnesses and substance addictions, and the death rates from drug overdoses and suicides were growing. The Oregon State Hospital was unable to keep up with referrals. At the same time, a few thousand people with mental illnesses and substance addictions were frequently cycling through Oregon county jails, courts, and emergency departments, resulting in millions of dollars in local and state expenditures, often with little benefit for either the people suffering from these conditions or their communities. In the summer of 2018, Oregon state and county leaders employed a behavioral health Justice Reinvestment (BHJR) approach to address the challenges related to people who are high utilizers of public safety and behavioral health resources. The CSG Justice Center provided technical assistance under the direction of Oregon’s BHJR Steering Committee.


Through this process, the BHJR Steering Committee recommended that a grant program be designed to support counties and Tribal Nations in developing stronger community-based continuums of care to improve health and criminal justice outcomes and reduce financial and public safety impacts for people cycling in and out of Oregon’s jails and hospitals. This grant program—Improving People’s Access to Community-Based Treatment, Supports, and Services (IMPACTS)—is reflected in Senate Bill 973, which was signed into law in July 2019. By more effectively serving people who are high utilizers, resources can be reallocated for law enforcement officials to focus on violent crime reduction strategies and for jail administrators to prioritize capacity for people who pose the greatest risk to the public, all while reducing the use of expensive health care resources.3


Through BHJR, Oregon authorized $10.6 million to help people with behavioral health issues get treatment and avoid costly stays in emergency rooms and local jails. As the first state to focus its JRI efforts entirely on the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health systems, Oregon is expected to save millions in local and state expenditures resulting from jail admissions and an overwhelming number of court orders for competency restoration, while addressing a shortage of supports and services in local communities, including tribes.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Provide transitional/supportive housing assistance or housing grants
  • Require data collection/performance measures
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Establish state-level grant program to fund community-based services
  • Address frequent utilizers of criminal justice and health care resources

Other JRI-Funded Projects

In Oregon, the Clackamas County Jail and the Oregon Judicial Department, in partnership with the CSG Justice Center, were one of the first to test and contribute to the digital infrastructure of the Justice Counts initiative.

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, in partnership with the CSG Justice Center, will align existing data with the metrics as part of the Justice Counts initiative.

1 The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2014, Oregon’s 2013 Public Safety Reforms, Washington, DC: Pew, retrieved May 19, 2023 from

2 Constance Hull and Samantha Harvell, 2020, Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI): Oregon, Washington, DC: Urban Institute, retrieved May 19, 2023 from

3 The Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2023, Justice Reinvestment in Oregon, New York, NY: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, retrieved May 19, 2023 from

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