Frequently Asked Questions About Oregon Voices
Does Oregon Voices provide legal assistance?
We are not attorneys. OV does not provide legal advice or offer legal representation or services. We can, however, direct you to people who, based on our experiences, may offer their own insight and help guide you to various legal resources.
Can OV help me get off the sex offender registry?
While it is not our role to provide direct assistance in this regard, we do make every effort to inform people about matters related to Oregon’s registration requirement. We believe that education is key; our goal is to empower you with knowledge necessary to help you determine whether you qualify for registration relief, and to identify what steps need to be taken specific to your situation.
Will OV help me find employment and/or housing?
Finding gainful employment and suitable housing is especially challenging for people with sex offense convictions. Those with such criminal histories continue to face discrimination and legal obstacles, and the shortage of affordable housing in much of Oregon intensifies the problem. OV advocates greater job and housing opportunities because we recognize that steady, meaningful work and a safe, stable home environment are key to successful reintegration and reducing recidivism. While these barriers are formidable, they are not insurmountable. There are success stories, and individuals involved in OV can possibly help you through their personal experiences and networking channels.
I might be moving to Oregon. What do I need to know about the registration requirement?
At present, those who enter Oregon and register are scored using a risk assessment tool and placed in one of three classification levels. Current law, as per ORS 163A.125(1)(d), stipulates that a registrant moving into Oregon may not petition for relief from registration “unless the laws of the jurisdiction where the person was convicted or found guilty except for insanity would permit a petition for relief from reporting as a sex offender.” It is not clear yet precisely how the statute will be applied. The Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision may ask for legislative clarification and review on this particular aspect of the law in the 2019 legislative session.
Detailed, up-to-date information about assessment, classification and registration under the new system can be found on the BOPPPS website: https://www.oregon.gov/boppps/pages/index.aspx
It is important to know that if a person gets off the registry in Oregon but is on the registry in another state, Oregon’s actions may not be recognized by that state. One would still have to go through getting removed from the registry in that state. It is also important to recognize that being a non-registrant in Oregon doesn’t necessarily eliminate the obligation to register in another state if one has a sex offense conviction, even for purposes of travel.
Do I need to be a member of OV to attend your meetings, volunteer, or to participate in some other way?
No! OV has no official membership or annual dues. We welcome all levels of participation. Whether you seek emotional support, are searching for information and guidance, or want to become an advocate for change, you are invited to join us. Our individual reasons for involvement may vary, but it is the shared experience and understanding of what it is like to be caught up in the system that unites us. If you are interested in attending a meeting, or would otherwise like to connect with our organization, please call 971-317-6868.
I'd like to get involved with OV, but what about confidentiality? I don't want to unnecessarily jeopardize the safety and well-being of myself or my family by having my conviction and registration status become public knowledge.
We are acutely aware of these privacy concerns. The fear of being “outed” in our respective communities is ever-present for many of us, and we recognize the importance of protecting family members. Although there is much to be said for “stepping out of the shadows,” we value discretion and will never ask you to do something you feel would compromise the health and safety of you and your loved ones. We hold our meetings in a safe environment. We do not keep a mailing list that would reveal your identity. We will keep your personal email address and contact information confidential and will not share it without your consent. We will not use your last name or other personally identifiable information in our meeting minutes and newsletter.
We wish to also emphasize that OV encourages accountability as well as forgiveness. We do not label those with a sexual offense and believe in treating one another with dignity and respect.
Is OV a lobbying organization?
While we are actively involved in legislative issues, we are not a lobbying organization. But we do actively monitor legislation and advocate for criminal justice reform measures that directly or indirectly impact those with sex offense convictions. We voice our support for sensible, evidence-based approaches to public safety. We write letters, meet with legislators, sign petitions, and submit public testimony. OV has established itself as a credible and respected organization by taking a measured approach to the issues. We understand that establishing trust and building relationships with lawmakers can be impactful and a means to effecting real change.
Does OV partner with other organizations?
We share many of the same goals as other progressive local, state, and national organizations that concern themselves with criminal and social justice reform, human rights, successful reentry programs, and victim advocacy. We will occasionally invite guest speakers from such organizations to our quarterly meetings. Many of us involved in OV are members of other such groups. We recognize the value in teamwork and collaborate with organizations whenever possible. OV is also an affiliate of the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL). Please see our list of links to groups with whom we share a common cause.
Where can I get information about OV's operational structure, Board of Directors, officer roles, etc.?
Copies of our articles of incorporation and bylaws are available upon request. Due to the sensitive nature of our organization and our adherence to personal privacy practices, we do not publicize the names of our board of directors.