More work ahead

We passed five of our legislative priorities, but we also met with a few disappointments.

Advancing these policy goals will be among our priorities in the next legislative session:

Invest in Community Mental Health System

  • We disagree with the legislature’s chose to keep the expensive Junction City State Hospital open.
  • Why: Oregon needs to invest more in local, community mental health services. Because of a tight state budget, we can’t continue to serve fewer people in much more expensive state hospital beds. Roughly half of state dollars in our mental health budget go to state hospitals. Community services cost less, and the federal government picks up two thirds of that lower cost. And spending too much on state hospitals violates rights of patients under the American Disabilities Act not to be needlessly segregated in institutions. 

Keep People with Mental Health Conditions Out of Jails and Prisons

  • We believe there was a lack of meaningful action to directly address the overuse of jails and prisons for people with mental health conditions and continued misuse of the aid and assist process in the criminal justice system.
 Why: Jails have become the default destination for people with severe mental health needs due to the lack of community supports. Jail can be profoundly harmful for people who need mental health treatment. Locking up people with mental health conditions and releasing them to city streets in greater distress than when they were taken into custody fails to protect these individuals and public safety.

Restrict Use of Guardianship

  • Oregon remains the only state where a guardian can be appointed without a court hearing or legal counsel for the affected adult.
Why: Guardianship is a highly intrusive restriction on the rights and self-determination of persons for whom a guardian is appointed. Guardians can make major changes to a person’s life without the person having a meaningful opportunity to object. There is minimal monitoring of guardianships once they are in place.

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