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Deschutes County DA’s office receives nearly $1 million restorative justice grant, seeks community facilitators

Deschutes County DA's Office

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office was awarded funding this month from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to expand its Emerging Adult Program.

The EAP is a pre-charge restorative justice program for young adult offenders that provides them with opportunities to redirect their lives, while simultaneously helping victims of crime achieve justice.

The total grant award was for $935,978 for two years and will support staffing and programmatic resources at the DA’s office, Community Solutions of Central Oregon and Thrive Central Oregon.

Here's the full announcement from the DA's office:

Program Description

The Emerging Adult Program rethinks how we engage with young adults involved in the criminal justice system, as traditional prosecution is not always the best answer. This is particularly true for 18 to 24-year-olds, who are making critical life decisions, even though research shows their brains have not yet fully developed.

This combination of life decisions and an immature brain often unfortunately results in poor choices being made. However, using a restorative justice model to address the crime rather than the traditional criminal justice system, the young adults will have the opportunity to make amends for their actions, earn a dismissal of their case and won’t be saddled with the unintended consequences of an arrest.

“We have run the Emerging Adult Program in a pilot version for the last year, which has shown promising results,” said DA John Hummel. “We are excited for the opportunity to expand the program through this new restorative justice grant from the Criminal Justice Commission, as it will allow us to not only increase the number of eligible participants, but will enhance our community partnerships and will provide more comprehensive services and resources for victims of crime and young adult offenders. All of which will help make Deschutes County an even safer and healthier community.”

The Emerging Adult Pilot Program is a collaborative initiative involving the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, Community Solutions of Central Oregon, Thrive Central Oregon, Deschutes Defenders, Deschutes County Behavioral Health Services, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, and community members serving as restorative justice community facilitators.

This integrated, holistic team will provide 50 young adults access to appropriate individualized community services to help them find the support, education and/or employment opportunities they need to complete their accountability plan and redirect their lives onto a path for future success.

Services and support will also be provided to victims of crime to help them regain what they have lost and to feel that justice has been served.

EAP Community Facilitator Recruitment

The Emerging Adult Program is recruiting additional community members to serve as trained restorative justice facilitators. Community facilitators will engage in conversation with these young adults about their charge and current life situation, and will work with them to establish an approved personalized accountability plan.

The EAP team needs at least 15 individuals with a passion for helping young adults and a desire to work with offenders and victims in order to make a difference in the lives of fellow community members. No Prior experience is needed.

Community facilitators will be:

·         Paid for their time,

·         Trained in restorative justice and facilitation techniques, and

·         Helping both the harmed and responsible parties achieve justice

To be a community facilitator you must be:

·         21+ years old,

·         Open to criminal justice reform measures,

·         Able to commit at least a half-day once month for two years, and

·         Available to participate in a multi-day training starting in December 2022.

Individuals with lived-experience in the criminal justice system are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

Community participation: http://www.dcda.us/c5/deschutessafe/eap/community

To learn more about being an EAP Community Facilitator join us for an information meeting on Thursday, November 17 at 12:00 (noon) or 6:00 PM at Community Solutions of Central Oregon or over Zoom.

Register for this informational event through the QR code or link:

tiny.cc/DeschutesEAP.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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