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Oregon Bill Proposes Changes in Sentencing for Sex Offenders

A bill is being proposed in the Oregon legislature that would call for mandatory life sentences without parole for sex offenders convicted of certain crimes.

Currently, mandatory life sentences without parole only apply to individuals convicted of murder.  Oregon currently allows life sentences for sex offenders, but it is not mandatory and does not apply to first time offenders. This bill would mandate life sentences without parole for individuals convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and first-degree sexual penetration, when they meet four specific criteria. These criteria are that the defendant was at least 18 years old at the time of the crime, the defendant scored “high risk” on the sex offender risk assessment, shows a tendency to injure others or target children under 12 years of age, and present a serious danger to the public.

The focus is on the risk that the defendant would commit a similar crime again.  Thus, it would allow for mandatory life sentences for first time offenders if it appears that they would be highly likely to abuse children again.

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