The Oregonian, March 30, 1996

Prison population grows 10.5% in a year

The number of prisoners in Oregon's overcrowded prisons continues to grow, state officials reported Friday. The March prison population of 7,832 is 10.5 percent larger than at the same time last year.

That upward trend will continue, increasing to 9,368 prisoners in July 1997, officials predict. As many as 19,500 people will be imprisoned in Oregon by July 2005, a 158 percent increase from the July 1995 count.

The statistics were released by the Office of Economic Analysis.

Most of the current increase results from Measure 11, which took effect in April 1995 and which gives mandatory minimum sentences for any of 16 crimes. Measure 11 is expected to add nearly 919 prisoners by July 1997.

Another new sentencing law, which takes effect in July 1997, imposes tougher sentences for repeat property-crime offenders. It is expected to add about 700 inmates to the prison the prison system by 2005.

The 1995 Legislature allocated $5 million in planning money for additional prisons, including a proposed 1,500-bed, minimum-security facility and a second women's prison.



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