Mike Schmidt will stop criminalizing poverty

For people barely making ends meet, a few tickets or even one fine can put them in a debt spiral they may never be able to dig themselves out of.

As DA, Mike Schmidt will stop penalizing defendants for being poor and work to remove barriers so everyone is equal before the law by: 

Getting rid of cash bail. Hundreds of people in our jails have never been convicted of a crime. If the only reason they are being held in jail is because they don’t have the money to bail out, they should be released. While awaiting trial in jail people lose jobs and housing, regardless of the outcome of their case. As DA, Mike will work with the county to develop and invest resources in pretrial services that give people the tools they need to live and succeed. In addition, Mike will work with state legislators to modernize Oregon law and end the cash bail system. Read more.

Not punishing an honest inability to pay. Mike will stop the harsh practice of suspending licenses and otherwise punishing people because of an honest lack of ability to pay a fine. If a fine is the appropriate consequence, Mike will support assessing fines based on a person’s ability to pay.

Focus prosecution on sex traffickers instead of endangering sex workers. Some sex workers might need access to social services, counseling, or other supports, but they don’t need more nights in jail. Instead, Mike will focus on prosecuting sex traffickers and finding public health-driven alternatives to pointless incarceration of those voluntarily engaged in sex work.

Giving people credit for getting their lives back on track by reducing criminal record expungement time from 10 to 5 years for qualifying individuals. Using research as a guide, Mike will advocate for removing barriers and allowing people to clear their record so they can get better-paying jobs, find housing and move on with their lives.

Expanding specialty courts. Mike supports establishing a problem-solving court, similar to Oregon’s drug courts and veterans courts, for houseless individuals who face minor charges (such as trespassing). These programs can give people a chance to avoid pointless convictions and penalties while working with social service providers to move towards self-sufficiency.

Read the full platform here.

Mike Schmidt will stop criminalizing poverty

For people barely making ends meet, a few tickets or even one fine can put them in a debt spiral they may never be able to dig themselves out of.

As DA, Mike Schmidt will stop penalizing defendants for being poor and work to remove barriers so everyone is equal before the law by: 

Getting rid of cash bail. Hundreds of people in our jails have never been convicted of a crime. If the only reason they are being held in jail is because they don’t have the money to bail out, they should be released. While awaiting trial in jail people lose jobs and housing, regardless of the outcome of their case. As DA, Mike will work with the county to develop and invest resources in pretrial services that give people the tools they need to live and succeed. In addition, Mike will work with state legislators to modernize Oregon law and end the cash bail system. Read more.

Not punishing an honest inability to pay. Mike will stop the harsh practice of suspending licenses and otherwise punishing people because of an honest lack of ability to pay a fine. If a fine is the appropriate consequence, Mike will support assessing fines based on a person’s ability to pay.

Focus prosecution on sex traffickers instead of endangering sex workers. Some sex workers might need access to social services, counseling, or other supports, but they don’t need more nights in jail. Instead, Mike will focus on prosecuting sex traffickers and finding public health-driven alternatives to pointless incarceration of those voluntarily engaged in sex work.

Giving people credit for getting their lives back on track by reducing criminal record expungement time from 10 to 5 years for qualifying individuals. Using research as a guide, Mike will advocate for removing barriers and allowing people to clear their record so they can get better-paying jobs, find housing and move on with their lives.

Expanding specialty courts. Mike supports establishing a problem-solving court, similar to Oregon’s drug courts and veterans courts, for houseless individuals who face minor charges (such as trespassing). These programs can give people a chance to avoid pointless convictions and penalties while working with social service providers to move towards self-sufficiency.

Read the full platform here.