Measure 11 Sentencing Reform in Oregon: Implementation and System Impact, 1990-1999 (ICPSR 4087)

Published: Jan 18, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Nancy Merritt, Rutgers University; Terry Fain, RAND Corporation; Susan Turner, RAND Corporation

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04087.v1

Version V1

This study explored the implementation and impact of Measure 11 (passed by Oregon voters in 1994), which imposed long mandatory prison terms for 16 designated violent and sex-related offenses, prohibited "earned time," and provided for mandatory waiver of youthful offenders to adult court. Measure 11 penalties were longer than those imposed under sentencing guidelines. Juveniles aged 15 years or older were also subject to the measure. The researchers addressed the implementation and impact of the measure on prosecution, sentencing, and convictions, both statewide and in three separate counties based on the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (OCJC) data and the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) data. Variables include offender characteristics, plea trial information, number of convictions, prison term for convictions, severity of offense, M11-eligible and alternate offense, and description of most severe offense.

Merritt, Nancy, Fain, Terry, and Turner, Susan. Measure 11 Sentencing Reform in Oregon: Implementation and System Impact, 1990-1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04087.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (98-CE-VX-0030)

county

1990 -- 1999

2001

The project used interviews with state and county stakeholders, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data, and United States Census data not available in this collection.

This study explored the implementation and impact of Measure 11 (passed by Oregon voters in 1994), which imposed long mandatory prison terms for 16 designated violent and sex-related offenses, prohibited "earned time," and provided for mandatory waiver of youthful offenders to adult court. Measure 11 sentences superseded any lesser existing guideline sentences for 21 violent and sex offenses -- the original 16, plus five more added in 1995 and 1997 -- and ranged from 70 months for second degree assault, kidnapping, robbery, and certain sex offenses, to 300 months for murder. In general, Measure 11 penalties were longer than those imposed under sentencing guidelines. Juveniles aged 15 years or older were also subject to the measure. The researchers addressed the implementation and impact of the measure on prosecution, sentencing, and convictions, both statewide and in three separate counties, and sought to address the following research questions: What was the sentencing context into which Measure 11 was implemented? What other sentencing reforms and major changes had occurred in the state prior to 1994 when the measure was approved by Oregon voters? How was Measure 11 implemented? Were all Measure 11 eligible offenses sentenced according to the new measure? Did the researchers see changes in the manner in which offenses were prosecuted by the district attorney? What impact did Measure 11 have on trial rates? Did the measure inundate the courts with requests for trials as critics feared? What are the characteristics of offenders sentenced under Measure 11? Did the measure appear to differentially affect minorities and youths? What impact did the measure have on prison admissions and sentence lengths?

In order to assess the impact of Measure 11 and other Oregon mandatory sentencing laws, trends in case processing, sentencing, and prison admissions in Oregon during the 1990s were examined. Data sources were analyzed at both the state level and for the three most populous counties for which complete data were available: Lane (Eugene), Marion (Salem), and Multnomah (Portland). Data available in this collection were obtained from (1) the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission's (OCJC) database and (2) the Oregon Department of Corrections' (DOC) database. The OCJC maintained data on all sentences for felony offenses in Oregon. These data, available for 1993 through 1999, were extracted from forms filled out at the county level upon completion of sentencing. In addition to indicating trends in sentence type and length before and after Measure 11, OCJC data allowed the researchers to gauge the impact of prior criminal history on sentencing and to determine method of disposition (plea vs. trial) before and after passage of Measure 11. OCJC data were also used to examine the possible effects of Measure 11 on the number of youths sentenced as adults and to track changes in disposition patterns. The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) maintained data for each felony case under the department's supervision, available from 1990 through 1999, including all cases sentenced to jail, probation, prison, and local control. These data were used to examine trends in the number of prison admissions for M11-eligible and M11-alternate cases before and after the passage of Measure 11, as well as trends in sentence length. At the state level, patterns of charges, sentencing, prison admissions, type of sentence, and sentence length were examined. Whenever it was appropriate, separate analyses were performed on youthful offenders who had been sentenced as adults.

Data include all the entries of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission's (OCJC) database (1993-1999) and all the entries from the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) database (1990-1999). Neither database allowed individuals to be tracked.

All sentenced felony cases in Oregon from 1993 to 1999 and all felony cases under DOC supervision from 1990 to 1999.

felony cases

Data available in this collection were obtained from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission's (OCJC) database and the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) database.

administrative records data

Variables in Part 1 (Oregon Criminal Justice Commission Data) include data year, offender gender, race, and age at sentencing, county of sentencing, plea trial information, first, second, and third most serious conviction offenses, inchoate offense information, total number of convictions, criminal history score, sentence type, prison term for current convictions, severity and severity codes for offense, and whether the case included an M11-eligible or M11-alternate offense. Variables in Part 2 (Oregon Department of Corrections Data) include custody number, county of jurisdiction, sex, race, and age at the beginning of sentence, age at admission, whether the case included at least one M11-eligible offense, number of prison sentences of the case, year sentence began, type of new admission, severity rank of most severe offense, Oregon offense codes, whether the case included felony offense, description of most severe offense, total prison sentence in months, year of prison admission, and year sentence began.

Not applicable

None

2005-03-04

2006-01-18

2006-01-18 File UG4087.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

2005-03-04 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

2006-01-18 File CB4087.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.