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Oregon Has Highest Rate Of Prisoners With Post-Release Supervision

Fewer prisoners serve their entire prison sentence behind bars in Oregon than in any other state according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Oregon also supervises its newly released inmates more than any other state. 

Just a handful of prison inmates in Oregon serve their entire sentence behind bars. The vast majority are released under some form of post-prison supervision.

Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at Pew, said Oregon is leading the way among states that have moved beyond turning inmates lose at the prison gate with nothing more than a bus ticket and the clothes on their back.

But to be effective, Gelb said, "You want to make sure that the programs and conditions are tailored to that offender's specific needs, and that there are both swift and certain rewards and punishments for offenders who don't follow the rules."

The report found that in Washington state, nearly one-fifth of inmates are released without post-prison supervision. That's close to the national average. Idaho is about halfway between Oregon and Washington, with about 12 percent unsupervised.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.