image text: do not renew the lane county jail levy. Vote no on measure 20-340 on the May 2023 ballot.

About Us

We are Healing Not Handcuffs, a collaboration between Springfield-Eugene Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Eugene chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. We oppose Measure 20-340 because we support a vision for what our community could look like without putting $22+ million annually toward the jail and youth detention. In Lane County, we lock hundreds of people in cells and behind barbed wire; that is not what most of us want for members of our community that are struggling.

When people are put in jail, there is a lack of true rehabilitation or positive outcomes. Research has shown for decades that putting more people in prison does not reduce crime

Using taxpayer money to keep people in jail doesn’t make sense . In fiscal year 21-22, the county budgeted $36 million for the jail (not including court and arrest costs). With 260 people in jail, that comes to about $11,500 per person per month. For that cost, each person in jail could have a personal therapist and full room and board before the incident that caused them to be put in jail. Instead of paying WellPath (the largest U.S. for-profit company that works in jails) for inmate services, our taxes could go directly to local agencies that provide mental and behavioral health services, housing, jobs, and basic needs for our community. Crime rates would be significantly reduced because people’s needs would be met, and we could use restorative justice and other alternatives to hold people accountable for their actions.

This might sound like a pipe dream to some, but we believe we can make this vision a reality.

Let’s work on healing our communities, making them actually safe. Please join us in opposing Measure 20-340 this May.

Alternatives to Jail

Lane County, Oregon, like many places in the United States, has struggled to find effective alternatives to jail for individuals with mental health issues or substance abuse problems. Alternatives to jail programs in Lane County are still in the process of being developed and expanded. However, there are a few notable programs and initiatives that are making strides towards providing alternatives to incarceration:

  • CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets): A mobile crisis intervention program run by the White Bird Clinic that provides mental health and substance abuse crisis services as an alternative to police intervention.
  • White Bird Clinic: A non-profit organization in Eugene that offers a variety of services, including counseling, medical care, and crisis intervention.
  • Lane County Stabilization Center: An upcoming facility that will provide short-term care and stabilization for people experiencing a mental health crisis, as an alternative to jail or emergency room visits.

These programs and initiatives demonstrate a growing recognition of the need for alternatives to jail in Lane County, and a commitment to providing compassionate and effective care for those in crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. In fact, it is not legal to bill Medicaid for health services provided in a jail. The same person, receiving medical and mental health services in health care facility, if eligible for Medicaid would actually bring more money into the community because the majority of the cost of Medicaid is paid by the federal government. If the county wanted to provide medical and behavioral health services, they would be far more effective doing so in their existing clinics - and investing in more of them. Also, addiction treatment is most effective when the person seeking treatment wants to stop using - treatment provided in the context of incarceration removes the option of voluntary participation because they are in jail.
A large proportion of individuals who are released are actually non-violent, such as those who have committed property crimes. It's crucial to acknowledge that most people in jail are being held before their trial and are therefore not yet convicted of a crime. By investing in community-based solutions such as mental health resources, housing, and education, we can address the underlying causes of crime and prevent harm from occurring in the first place. Furthermore, there are alternative approaches to conventional incarceration, such as restorative justice practices, that prioritize healing and restitution rather than punishment.
Initially intended as a temporary measure to address the immediate needs of the county jail, the levy has become a long-term funding mechanism for the jail. The ongoing success of the levy has allowed the council to continue allocating funds towards the jail instead of investing in critical mental health projects like the upcoming behavioral stabilization center. However, if the levy were to fail, it would force the council to prioritize the funding of mental health services and other community-based solutions that address the root causes of crime and provide true rehabilitation for individuals in need. By investing in these community-based solutions, we can create a safer and healthier community for everyone.


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Contact Us

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Current Detainees

A large proportion of individuals who are held in Lane County Jail are accused of non-violent crimes, such as disorderly conduct, trespassing, or driving uninsured. It's also crucial to acknowledge that most people in jail are being held before their trial and are therefore not yet convicted of a crime.

Category Count
Total Inmates 479
Non-violent Offenders 364
Total Violent Offenders 115
Violent Felonies 89
Violent Misdemeanors 26
Measure 11 76
Murder 13

Last update: 2023-08-22 6:00 AM