June 6: Patio Party
Update on Coffee Creek Project
Marge Easley, Co-president
Unfortunately, Rep. Parrish’s bills did not make it out of committee. However, SB 232, which authorizes the Department of Corrections to accept federal grants and other financial assistance for reentry support and services to offenders released on supervision, passed out of the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee and awaits a full House vote. I was honored to travel to Salem on April 29 and deliver supporting testimony on behalf of LWVCC and the women at Coffee Creek.
Testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary
The following testimony was presented by Marge Easley on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Clackamas County.
RE: SB 232, DOC authorization to accept reentry support and services money: SUPPORT
League members in Clackamas County have a particular interest in SB 232 because of our work the past two years with a group of women inmates at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. These women, all of whom have at least a GED and less than two years on their sentences, attend a Computer Tech class led by Portland Community College instructor Marie Daniels. This class, however, provides much more than computer instruction. It is, in fact, a life skills class with the goal of instilling hope and much-needed confidence to succeed in the outside world. The League was invited by Ms Daniels to provide lessons on civic engagement to help inmates feel more closely tied to their communities upon release. We discussed the importance of voting, the workings of our governmental system, and ways to advocate for themselves in a society that places a stigma on those with felony convictions.
Of course, these women can’t be here today, so I would like to share just a few quotes from what they wrote, regarding the need for increased funding for reentry support and services:
“When I was released the first time I was forced to go back to a county where there was little family support and funding, and because of this I am a recidivism statistic.”
“I have problems with my depression and need to stay on medication, which the county was paying for until they lost their funding. Because of the cost of the medication I chose to self medicate, which brought me to relapse.”
“I live on a reservation and every state treatment facility is 45 miles away. I have to go to treatment at a state certified facility to get my children back. I’m not eligible for treatment here at Coffee Creek. In order to get the treatment I need when I’m released I cannot parole to my home because there are no resources where I live, and I’d need help with transportation and housing.”
On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Clackamas County and the women of Coffee Creek I would like to thank you for this hearing today and to urge passage of SB 232. Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.