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Report: Oregon Prison Population Expected to Decrease

Oregon’s prison population is expected to drop over the next three years, according to a report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

Doug Harcleroad says the reason for the decrease is House Bill 3194. He’s senior policy advisor for Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance.

"House Bill 3194 is a new law, and one of the central features is that it reduces sentences for some non-violent crimes that otherwise would have gone to the penitentiary," he said.

Oregon’s longer-term forecast has the prison population going up due to a projected increase in the number of young males living in Oregon.

But Harcleroad says this does not take into account $15 million going to local governments over the next two years. Counties will spend the money on programs to keep lawbreakers from re-offending.

"If they focus it on the right individuals with proven rigorous programs, it will work to reduce the prison population," he explained.

If the programs do succeed, there will be more money where that $15 million came from. The legislature will spend the prison savings on further efforts to help offenders live crime-free lives.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting