Tag Archives: Naivasha Dean

PSJ Column: Momentum building for public safety reform in Oregon

By Naivasha Dean, Contributing Columnist

With about eight months to go until our next legislative session, Oregonians can feel the vice-grip of our multi-billion dollar deficit tightening. We are tired of the cuts. We are tired of crisis mode. We are really tired of having to choose between funding our prisons and educating our children — and when K-12 class sizes grow right along with prisons, we’ve made those choices. Likewise, it’s senseless when funding shortages back county law enforcement into a corner — counties such as Josephine County, which has begun dismantling its sheriff’s office and is cutting its road patrol hours in half.

That’s why Partnership for Safety and Justice is happy to be able to share some good news: This imbalance in priorities and spending is being called into question. On May 14, Oregon got two major boosts towards a vital goal: reforming our public safety system to become more cost-efficient and effective. The first leg-up came directly from the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who reconvened a new and expanded Commission on Public Safety, a bipartisan, inter-branch task force charged with figuring out ways to use Oregon’s limited public safety dollars in a smart way. The second came from a national source: The Pew Public Safety Performance Project, which announced that it has decided to step in and provide crucial technical support to the commission’s efforts. Continue reading

Decriminalization lessens collateral damage of marijuana arrests

By Naivasha Dean, Contributing Columnist

Chances are, you’ve signed a petition or two recently. Advocates looking to get their initiatives on the ballot in November must reach 116,283 valid signatures by July 6, and the impending deadline means that they’re ramping up their efforts. Chances are also good that you’ve encountered a signature gatherer that asked you to sign a petition to decriminalize marijuana.

You might already be familiar with the arguments — our current marijuana laws cost too much to enforce, and they don’t work. But what you’ll rarely hear from the person with the clipboard is that the injustices go much deeper than a matter of principle, or a waste of time and money. Oregon’s 475,000 marijuana users are facing even more alarming collateral consequences — especially if they happen to be people of color. Continue reading

Oregon’s misplaced priorities harm crime victims

By Naivasha Dean, Contributing writer

Oregonians, it’s time to talk about sex.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time for Oregonians to talk about sexual violence, the needs of survivors, and ways to prevent sexual violence. This year’s theme, “It’s time … to talk about it,” encourages people to have conversations about sex that promote healthy behaviors and encourage safe relationships.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we thought it would be useful to demystify the topic as well as talk about some structural changes Oregon needs to make in order to get more serious about violence prevention. Continue reading

Our preoccupation with incarceration costs us in education


By Naivasha Dean, Contributing Columnist

Faced with high unemployment rates and crippling debt, Oregon students are stumbling under the burden of rising tuition costs. On Feb. 21, hundreds of Oregon college students lobbied lawmakers in Salem and gathered on the campuses of Eastern Oregon and Portland State Universities to protest the rising cost of higher education. Annual tuition and fees have doubled over the last decade, and the Legislature’s 2011 hold back of 3.5 percent of the education budget has exacerbated the problem. Continue reading