Law \ Legal

Prior Felony Charges Shackle Portland’s Homeless to the Street

The majority of Portland, Oregon’s homeless population find themselves unable to escape a life on the streets due to a criminal background they can’t shake off, specifically felony charges, reports Blair Best for KGW8. A common barrier for many is repeat felony charges for things like certain drug use and property crimes, along with violent crimes like assault, the consequences for which range from prison to jail sentences, fines, potentially losing the right to vote and being denied professional licenses.

Shannon Wight, the deputy director at Partnership for Safety and Justice,  thinks there needs to be accountability if people cause harm in the community, but questioned whether incarceration helps those addicted to drugs who commit crimes. “…if it’s something like an addiction-driven crime, if someone’s using or doing other things related to their drug use, the thing that’s going to help them not commit those crimes is not incarceration, it’s actually getting the support they need to be successful,” Wight said.

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