It shouldn’t have taken a 68th conviction to get this man some much-needed treatment. We’ll see if he actually takes advantage of it.
As reported by Oregon Live: A homeless man who is one of Portland’s most frequently arrested people is getting a chance to get drug, alcohol and mental health treatment instead of prison time for his most recent convictions this week — for threatening a woman and her minor son as they cowered in their locked car.
Brian Ray Lankford, 50, was sentenced to three years of probation through the Multnomah County Justice Reinvestment Program, which also is geared to help him find stable housing.
Lankford has been arrested more than 220 times in the past decade and — as of Monday — convicted 68 times for crimes including misdemeanor theft, trespassing, harassment, disorderly conduct and interfering with public transportation, according to his court file. He often has been sentenced to fines, short stints in jail or probation in which he was not actively supervised.
On Monday, Lankford pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and menacing after a woman arrived home in August 2017 to discover Lankford behind her Goose Hollow-area home, just a few blocks from Portland State University. She told him to leave, and he began swinging a 3-foot-long tree branch toward the woman and her son, who had retreated to their locked car and called 911, investigators said.
The boy told police he worried Lankford was going to break their car windows and hurt them. The boy’s mother, Tiffany Hammer, told the Portland City Council in May that Lankford was a repeat criminal who was among a homeless population that commits a wide array of crimes around their neighborhood. On that particular day, Hammer said, she thinks he was trying to steal from her home.
Lankford told The Oregonian/OregonLive last year that he’s been arrested so many times that sometimes he cares if he goes to jail and sometimes he doesn’t. He said he uses methamphetamines, and it’s easy to feel hopeless.
The defense and the prosecution worked out the terms of Lankford’s plea agreement, which was approved by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Benjamin Souede.
A spokesman for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Brent Weisberg, said state guidelines recommended Lankford be sentenced to 13 to 14 months of prison. But the district attorney’s office thought probation, treatment and help finding housing would be better at addressing Lankford’s problems.
If Lankford fails to abide by the terms of his probation, he could get about two to five years in prison, Weisberg said.
“The hope is he’ll engage in the wraparound services that are being offered,” Weisberg said.
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