MACG the Seed for Statewide Win on Debt Relief for Former Prisoners

In our end of the year MACG news round-up we sent last week, we forgot to mention one important win:

Gov. Kate Brown signed SB 360 into law in July, which allows former prisoners to pay some court-related fees back through performing community service.

Sen. Lew Frederick agreed to introduce the bill after hearing stories PHOENIX Rising Transition members told about post-prison financial burdens at the 2015 MACG listening campaign.

(Caption: MACG/PHOENIX members attend ceremonial signing of SB 360 with Gov. Kate Brown.)

Stories like Gary Griffin’s, whose $700 court related fee turned into a $7,900 debt due to accumulated interest during his 5.5-year incarceration, completely taking him by surprise when he was released.

Since people with prison records earn 40% less than their peers over a lifetime, these fees can significantly hinder getting back on one’s feet and contributing to the community.

MACG and PHOENIX members want to eliminate hindrances that tempt people to return to crime and prison. This new law is a great step forward!

PHOENIX and MACG members took three separate trips to Salem in the past two years to testify before three different committees of the Oregon legislature, urging their support of this bill.

It passed with flying colors! Sen. Lew Frederick invited MACG/PHOENIX members back for the ceremonial signing on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. (See picture above)

The stories that MACG / PHOENIX Members told during MACG’s listening campaign and the actions those leaders took afterward were an important seed for this legislation getting passed. Congratulations to all who made this happen!

Happy New Year to all!

See more photos of the actions around this issue here.