OREGON DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
A View of the Criminal Justice System
Prosecutors believe that the criminal justice system
should reflect the values of the community. That’s why District Attorneys are elected by the people they serve.
The criminal justice system is most “just” when citizens understand their role in keeping their communities safe.
LAW ENFORCEMENT – Police/Sheriff/Highway Patrol
Each county has local law enforcement agencies that are responsible for preventing crime, investigating alleged crimes and for apprehending offenders. They respond to citizen calls for assistance. They impartially investigate crimes, gather evidence, arrest people, and work with prosecutors to hold people accountable.
Judges interpret and uphold the rule of law, assess the evidence presented by prosecutors and defense attorneys, and control how hearings and trials advance in their courtrooms. Their job is to make sure that the rules of court are followed by all parties. Their role is to be impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice. Judges rule on appropriate bail and other conditions of release, set dates for court hearings, and impose sentences of those convicted based upon a defendant’s criminal history, the prosecutor’s and defense attorney’s requests and Oregon law.
Defense attorneys are advocates for the accused. They are solely charged with zealously representing their clients and protecting their client’s interests. They make sure all rights afforded to the accused are upheld.
PROSECUTORS ARE MINISTERS OF JUSTICE IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEM
Prosecutors represent the state in criminal matters and their role is to pursue justice, not simply convict. They are responsible for protecting the rights of both victims and the accused. They evaluate the evidence and the law and make charging decision based upon whether they can prove someone committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Prosecutors are also responsible for righting wrongs and improving the criminal justice system.
The laws in the state of Oregon are established by elected representatives of the people, such as members of the Oregon State House of Representatives and Oregon Senate. Prosecutors do not create the laws that are enforced, and this includes mandatory sentencing requirements. Prosecutors do work with lawmakers to advocate for laws that impact public safety and the rights of victims.
PRISONS – DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS/ COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS IN OREGON
Community corrections is a function of state government operated in partnership with local, county-operated community corrections agencies. Of Oregon's 36 counties, the Department of Corrections operates the community corrections in Linn and Douglas counties. Community corrections activities include supervision, community-based sanctions, and services directed at offenders who have committed felony crimes and have been placed under supervision by the courts (probation), the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision, or the local supervisory authority (parole/post-prison supervision).
PROBATION AND PAROLE
Oregon’s Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision is responsible for conducting hearings regarding the potential release of those inmates under the Board's release authority or for other specified purposes in statute. These information-gathering portions of the hearings are public meetings and interested individuals are welcome to attend.
In general, only victims of the offender's crime, district attorneys, and one offender supporter are allowed to participate in the hearing by making statements to the Board as provided by rule.
Prosecutors do not make decisions as to when people are paroled or how much time they actually serve based upon the sentence a judge imposes.
Below is a link to the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision for more information.