The Board of County Commissioners recognized the more-than-500 Multnomah County employees who support individuals involved in the justice system on the path towards rehabilitation by proclaiming July 19 through July 25, 2020, Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week. The week comes in the midst of a global pandemic, unrest and protests decrying the inequities experienced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the justice system.
“Now more than ever our community is crying out to end the disparities that have been perpetuated in the criminal justice system,” director of Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, Erika Preuitt, said during the July 30 board meeting.
“We recognize that we must change and have engaged in practices and invested in programs that effectively serve Black and Indigenous people of color. We have prioritized tracking data to evaluate disparities and hold ourselves accountable.”
Deena Corso, Director of the Juvenile Services Division (JSD), also spoke and highlighted the continued work of DCJ employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Unlike many County operations, the need to provide in-person direct service at JSD never stopped. Our Juvenile Custody Services Specialists, detention managers, and nutrition services staff come to work daily, just like they did pre-pandemic. They work hard everyday to support the health and well-being of youth residing in our detention facility and our Assessment and Evaluation residential program,” she said.
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury reiterated the Department of Community Justice's important role in helping to eliminate racial inequities, especially given current events. “Our community is currently engaged in the long but necessary work transforming our criminal justice and public safety systems to eliminate the cycles of harm, especially the disproportionate harm inflicted on Black, Latinx and other communities of color in the name of safety and justice.”
“While this work forces us to ask hard questions, I know this change is possible. And I know because for years DCJ has been doing this work and they have shown this transformation is possible.”