Multnomah County is committed to working with the community to create a justice system that lives up to the ideals of fairness, equity and accessibility to and for all. We acknowledge that the justice system’s roots in racial oppression continue to inflict disproportionate harm on Black, Indigenous and other people of color today, and that only intentional budgetary, policy and programmatic decisions can begin to build up the system that we need. 

Reductions

In response to the murder of George Floyd, and the nationwide protests calling for immediate change to the criminal legal system, Multnomah County has taken steps to move faster and deeper in our efforts towards system transformation. As one of the first steps toward that commitment, the Board of County Commissioners divested more than $2 million from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and District Attorney’s Office in the FY 2021 budget. Those reductions included:

  • The closure of a dorm at Inverness Jail. This marks the third dorm closed in the past four years as part of Multnomah County’s effort to reduce reliance on jail.
  • A reduction of funding for staff in the booking facility due to the dramatic decrease in the number of people booked into jail as a result of COVID-19.
  • Elimination of funding in the District Attorney’s Office for prosecutors in charge of overseeing low-level misdemeanors.

Investments

While Multnomah County divests in criminal legal system capacity and operations as a pathway to achieve transformative change, we know that we must equally focus on upstream investments that build up our communities and change the future of thousands of children and families, and neighborhoods. That means redirecting the money that was saved through disinvestments into programs aimed at uplifting Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, with a focus on three key components:

  • Successfully diverting and deflecting people away from entering the criminal legal system.
  • Helping those who are reentering from places of incarceration.
  • Repairing past harms that come with interacting in the criminal legal system.

*Updated September 2020; to be updated monthly

Status Key:
In Research: Assessing feasibility and best practices

In Discussion: Engaging stakeholders

In Progress: Implementation is underway

Complete: Commitment fulfilled

Diversion and Deflection

    Commitment Status

    Stabilization, Treatment, and Preparation Program expansion 

    Multnomah County currently runs two Stabilization, Treatment, and Preparation (STP) homes that offer transitional housing and provide psychiatric stabilization services, legal skills training and a range of additional supports to help homeless people, who are also involved in the justice system, prepare to rejoin the community. We are expanding the service by creating a culturally specific, Afrocentric 12-bed house.

    In Progress

    Supporting Reentry

    Commitment Status

    Expanding employment support services 

    Individuals coming out of prison and jail face significant barriers when returning to the community, especially finding stable employment. Additional funding will allow the Department of Community Justice to include services for pretrial clients, as well as those preparing to leave MCSO following a term of incarceration. Services will include outreach, engagement, peer support and employment advocacy and support.

    In Progress

    Mobile Behavioral Health pilot 

    Black individuals continue to face stigma and discrimination in the criminal legal system. These negative experiences, combined with a lack of access to culturally affirming and informed care, result in multiple health disparities for the population. Thus, there is an urgent need to provide inclusive, high-quality behavioral health services so that they can achieve the highest possible level of health. This funding will establish a culturally specific Mobile Behavioral Health team for Black individuals re-entering the community from incarceration. The team will consist of a master’s level mental health provider, a certified addictions counselor and a peer support specialist. The scope of services will include outreach and engagement, home visits, mental health or substance use screening/assessments, individual therapy/counseling, care coordination, and peer support.

    In Progress

    Repairing Harm

    Commitment Status

    Legal services expansion 

    Multnomah County offers legal support for justice-involved individuals through Legal Services Day and the Department of County Human Services’ Legal Clinic. Both of these programs assist clients by working to waive fines and fees, start the expunction process, and eliminate other barriers to employment and housing. This funding will allow for an expansion of these services and assist more people on the road to reentry. 

    In Discussion

    Community-based partnerships with families of youth on probation

    This funding will assist with the expansion of the Community Healing Initiative (CHI). This programming is specifically designed to address youth violence toward family members and will be an additional service component within the existing CHI program. Services will include delivery of a proven curriculum, as well as temporary housing for youth who cannot be safely at home until intervention occurs. The goal of the services is to stop family violence and abuse and develop respectful relationships so that all family members feel safe at home. This will provide an opportunity to address the underlying causes of family violence without further involvement in the juvenile justice system. 

    In Progress

    Budget Notes

    The Board of County Commissioners also requested a series of “budget notes” at the conclusion of the FY 2021 budget adoption process. The notes are intended to gather information from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Community Justice in order for the Commission to gain a greater understanding on a series of policy topics as they consider future legislative or budget action.

    Commitment Status

    Sheriff training

    The Board of Commissioners requested a board briefing from MCSO on their officer training program. The briefing will cover the training programs, policies and practices employed by MCSO, as well as best practices and analysis around the need for de-escalation training, the use of force, the demilitarization of public safety officers and community policing efforts.  

    Briefing scheduled for October 2020

    Electronic monitoring

    The Board of Commissioners requested a board briefing from the Department of Community Justice and its community and public safety partners regarding adult electronic monitoring. This briefing will include a description of how electronic monitoring is utilized, a demographic breakdown of individuals in the program, recidivism rates and other measurements of effectiveness, and alternatives to electronic monitoring. 

    Briefing scheduled for October 2020

    Jail labor 

    The Board of Commissioners requested a board briefing from the Sheriff’s Office and its community and public safety partners to provide an overview on jail labor expenses. The briefing will include how much inmates are paid for their labor (both on an hourly basis and in total), whether by the Sheriff’s Office or by a contractor; what kind of labor is performed; how much revenue or cost saving is derived by the Sheriff’s Office; and any other information relevant to policy and budget discussion of either eliminating or paying minimum wage for jail labor. 

    Briefing scheduled for October 2020