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Impact

Report

Highlighting our
impact on families
and communities
across Oregon.

 

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Slide Letter from
Executive Director
Dear Supporters,

The difficult and often painful experiences of the past year have focused our attention on many of the most pressing issues of our time. Life across Oregon and the nation has been profoundly changed by the racial justice uprisings to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others.

We face political divisiveness that endangers our democracy, the threat of widespread wildfires and the climate change they portend, plus the continuing impacts of COVID-19 on community health and safety. These conditions have again exposed the stark racial disparities that hold us back as a people and signal an urgent need for transformative change and a new valuation of humanity and the world in which we live.
Slide Letter from
Executive Director
Still, in this time of heartache and uncertainty, we also have a deep and abiding hope. We witness tremendous examples of generosity and resiliency by people caring for others in their communities. The courage of activists joining in solidarity against police violence and mass incarceration has inspired the world, just as it has alarmed those who wrongly believe their future depends on a status quo that perpetuates injustice. Across the country, and notably here in Oregon, people are demanding not just safety, but also justice and healing.

We are constantly reminded of and grateful for PSJ’s community of supporters. This work is sustained by our shared vision for a society that no longer inflicts suffering and injustice when responding to harm caused by individuals to others. We know that Oregon, our nation, and humanity can do better.
Slide Letter from
Executive Director
The first step is ensuring that safety, justice, and healing are available to all people – especially people who have caused harm and those who have been harmed.

Together, we will advance this vision for public safety – one that truly values Black lives, recognizes that justice does not exist unless extended to everyone, and understands that defaulting to jails, prisons, and other forms of control causes unnecessary and avoidable harm. We are confident that our society can do better by investing in communities and individuals in ways that provide lasting solutions.

For the PSJ community, achieving that vision is our work and fundamental commitment.




ANDY KO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Slide New Layer Centering survivors of color. Partnership for Safety & Justice is elevating the voices of the people most harmed and least helped by our criminal justice system. The experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color who bear the disproportionate brunt of violence are at heart of this work.

Together with the Latino Network, POIC, Red Lodge Transition Services, and other partners, we shined a light on the complex needs and barriers to healing that many survivors of violence in communities of color face in Oregon. We released the groundbreaking report, When We Tell Our Stories, which sounds the alarm on the stark racial disparities in Oregon’s victim support system and the need to invest in culturally specific services for survivors of color.
Slide New Layer Centering survivors of color. With safe and stable housing being one of the most pressing needs among survivors, we worked in broad coalition to ease Oregon’s affordable housing crisis. We supported campaign efforts to pass the nation’s first rent control law, which protects Oregonians from extreme rent increases and no-cause evictions. As a member of the HereTogether Coalition, we also helped pass a historic ballot measure that will raise close to $250 million each year to support people experiencing houselessness in the Portland metro region.


These protections are vital for our communities, particularly for many survivors of violence who are made even more vulnerable to abuse and sexual assault when displaced from their homes.

Slide Hear Their Stories. "Many of us fear the police because they've harassed us. I didn't have a police report. I had a report from the hospital. I think that my voice should have value, maybe more than the police report." Slide Hear Their Stories. "I didn't know until I got into recovery and I saw a therapist that I realized I suffered from PTSD. As a Black man, that's a weakness. Being a man in general, you don't deal with that." Slide Hear Their Stories. "I want justice, but I really would like to hear those punks that kills my son tell me why. Just tell me why you shot him. I want to hear you say, 'I'm sorry, Miss –. I'm so wrong.' And I deserve that."

Slide Divesting from prisons and punishment. Reinvesting in communities. In the wake of the horrific police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many others, people across Oregon and our nation are demanding sweeping changes to our criminal justice system. The call to divest from prisons and punishment and to reinvest in our communities has never been more urgent.

Partnership for Safety & Justice has been committed to this fight since our founding and with supporters like you, we have made significant strides to divest from mass incarceration and reinvest in community safety.
Slide Divesting from prisons and punishment. Reinvesting in communities. In solidarity with Imagine Black, Unite Oregon, and our Black movement leaders, we joined the campaign to successfully roll back Portland’s police budget by $15 million. From the streets to City Hall, our collective demands also redirected $5 million toward the Portland Street Response, an alternative to the police that dispatches unarmed first responders to people experiencing houselessness or a mental health crisis.

Our ongoing advocacy also mounted pressure on Oregon’s governor to begin closing two state prisons over the next year. These closures are expected to save the state more than $44 million and reflect a dramatic shift away from incarceration.
Slide Divesting from prisons and punishment. Reinvesting in communities. In coalition with over 40 organizations, we eliminated mandatory minimum sentences for Oregon youth. Together, we ended extreme punishments for children as young as 15, including life without parole and automatic prosecution in the adult criminal justice system. These landmark reforms bring Oregon’s juvenile justice system into closer alignment with what is known about childhood development and elevate the enormous capacity that young people have to grow and change.

We also advocated for over $47 million of prison savings to be reinvested into victim services, mental health treatment, and other local programs that promote community safety. We helped pass a new law to ensure that these resources are more equitably invested in programs that serve Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people.

Slide Historic Victory to
End the War on Drugs.
The War on Drugs is a catastrophic failure. It has deepened racial disparities and fueled mass incarceration. Punitive drug policies have also diverted billions of dollars away from effective treatment and harm reduction services. This has resulted in preventable overdose deaths and the transmission of HIV and other diseases, as well as Oregonians often having to wait months to receive lifesaving health care.

In partnership with local allies and the Drug Policy Alliance, we established a milestone reform that brings Oregon and our nation closer to ending a half-century of failed and destructive drug policies. We helped lead passage of Measure 110, a historic ballot measure that made Oregon the first state in the nation to end criminal penalties for the low-level personal possession of all drugs.

As a result of the new law, racial disparities in drug arrests are expected to plummet by 94%, dramatically reducing the harm inflicted by law enforcement on Black and brown Oregonians. Measure 110 also dramatically expands funding for addiction treatment, harm reduction programs, and other vital services that rightly address drug use as a public health rather than criminal justice issue.
Partnership for Safety & Justice helped lead a coalition of 130 community-based organizations across Oregon in support of Measure 110, which expands access to recovery services and decriminalizes people suffering from addiction.

Slide – GREGORY ANTHONY BROWN,
VETERAN AND PEER SUPPORT SPECIALIST
Hear Their Stories. “I was arrested for possession more than once, but I never had an opportunity to go to treatment. I have heard people say, I can’t go to treatment until I go to jail. How does that sound? Some care organizations don’t pay for it. It used to be that you could go to places like Hooper, and they would get assessed, but not anymore. People need to be given an opportunity to get into treatment before going to jail.”
Slide -JANIE GULLICKSON,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION ASSOCIATION OF OREGON
Hear Their Stories. “Because of my criminal record and my addiction, I struggled to get housing and a job and to be treated with dignity and respect. If I had been able to get access to treatment and recovery sooner, it would have made a world of difference. But treatment only works when you are able to get it, which is why it should be available on demand, for everyone who needs it. Unfortunately, Oregon ranksnearly last in access to treatment. This initiative is our change to that. Let’s establish a humane, health based approach to addressing drug addiction in Oregon.”
Slide -ANTOINETTE EDWARDS,
DIRECTOR OF PORTLAND OFFICE OF YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Hear Their Stories. “For too long we have approached drug addiction as a law enforcement issue rather than a public health issue. Arresting people with addictions is cruel and inhumane, and continues to disproportionately target our Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ community members. It is long overdue that we reframe and reimagine our approach to drug use. This measure provides hope, healing, and restorative justice.”

Slide COVID-19
Emergency Response.
The coronavirus pandemic poses an extreme threat to the approximately 12,000 people currently in Oregon’s prisons and jails, many of whom are elderly and already in poor health. Confined to crowded and unsanitary cells, these individuals are at risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

Stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus have also exposed survivors of domestic violence to greater risk of further abuse and violence. And with children learning remotely, fewer interactions with mandatory reporters means that children are more vulnerable to abuse that is both underreported and more extreme.
Slide COVID-19
Emergency Response.
In the face of this escalating crisis, Partnership for Safety & Justice jumped into overdrive to advocate for the health and safety of incarcerated people and survivors across our state. We partnered with the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence and other allies to ensure that $3 million in state funding went to emergency services for domestic violence victims.

We worked with organizations like Disability Rights Oregon, Beyond These Walls, Oregon Justice Resource Center, and ACLU of Oregon to push for the safe and early release of medically vulnerable people in our state prisons and jails. We were encouraged to see county jails move quickly, with some reducing their populations by more than 50 percent.


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This is meaningful progress, but our work is far from over. We will continue to advocate for a reduction in Oregon’s prison population to allow
for physical distancing. We will also work to ensure that people leaving prison have access to re-entry services and the support they need to be successful when they return to their communities.

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The pandemic has required us to be physically distant, but it has not stopped us from coming together in support of safety and healing.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have organized virtual gatherings to share timely information, take action, and build community with each other.

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