Karen grew up in Eugene, Oregon, with parents who were violent to one another and with a mother who abused alcohol. She spent time in foster care and a girls' home and started using drugs including heroin as a teenager. Addiction and bad relationships eventually led her to burglarizing homes for which she is now serving time in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon.
In the last twenty years, the number of women in prison in Oregon has tripled, even while property and drug crimes - the major drivers of women's incarceration - have fallen. What's causing the problem? Over-zealous charging practices, mandatory minimum sentencing, and treating more crimes as felonies are major reasons for the rise. Oregon is spending millions of dollars annually to warehouse women that we could be investing in treatment and community programs.
To learn how you can make a difference on this issue, visit the Oregon Justice Resource Center website.
Janny's story: how an Oregon woman who had never been in trouble with the law before found herself being sentenced as a repeat property offender under Measure 57. Janny Sumnall is serving nearly a decade at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for her role in a series of burglaries of empty homes. She became involved in the crimes as a result of her relationship with her partner who was violent toward her.