PORTLAND, Ore., September 20, 2021 (Newswire.com) - The following is an open letter from Citizens For Mental Health Reform on our proposal to re-sentence all Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board Clients from the maximum to what they would have gotten on the Oregon Sentencing Guidelines if they didn't have a mental health condition.
Attention Mental Health Peers, Family Members and Compassionate Allies of human beings currently suffering from a Mental Health Condition:
People with mental illness didn't choose to be born that way and shouldn't be punished with the maximum possible sentence based on the fact that they have one.
In the name of Justice, Oregon discriminates against the mentally ill with excessively long sentences under the Psychiatric Security Review Board.
People shouldn't be kept under jurisdiction just because it creates mental health jobs.
We understand there is also community safety to take into consideration. We would like to point out the PSRB's own recidivism rate.
From January 2011 through 2017 (the most recent year for which recidivism figures are currently available), only 15 people out of the 896 who were living in the community on conditional release have been convicted of new felonies or misdemeanors.
Most people under the PSRB are not criminals; they simply had a mental health crisis and it got out of control. If there were better community mental health options they may have never had an incident that required the Justice System.
The majority of people currently stuck under the PSRB are there because of the incredible hurdles it takes to be released early.
Millions of dollars are being wasted keeping people under jurisdiction.
In Oregon if someone commits a crime they are sentenced under the The Oregon Sentencing Guidelines Grid, which can range from 30 Days to Life in Prison.
But if a person with a mental illness commits a crime they are given the maximum sentence.
We believe this is unfair and discrimination against people with a mental disability.
That is why we are calling upon Kate Brown and the Oregon Legislature to fix this by re-sentencing all current PSRB Clients according to the Oregon Sentencing Guidelines Grid.
Many have done twice or three times the amount under the PSRB then if they hadn't asserted the mental health defense.
Preston is 31 years old and suffers from Bipolar in remission. In 2010 he came to Oregon to go to a Sober Living House. He suffered a mental health crisis and attempted suicide by starting a fire in an unoccupied building. On the Oregon Sentencing Guidelines Grid, he would have received 3 years in prison, but due to asserting a mental health defense he was given 20 years under the PSRB. He has done 11 years without committing any new crimes. He has no relatives in Oregon but still has 9 years before he can return to his family.
Preston isn't the only one. There are hundreds of people living successfully and safely in the community but trapped under the maximum sentence.
Please consider signing our Petition https://www.citizensformentalhealthreform.com/get-involved
Source: Citizens For Mental Health Reform