Yamhill County, Oregon, encompasses 718 square miles and is home to more than 99,000 residents. It is approximately 40 miles southwest of the heart of Portland.
The Yamhill County Jail can house 257 inmates, but most often operates under capacity. Yamhill County Community Corrections supervises 1,121 adult offenders on misdemeanor and felony probation, and on post-prison supervision. The Yamhill County criminal justice team has enjoyed a long history of close collaboration and innovation as evidenced by the establishment of a special management team prior to the EBDM Initiative. The purpose of this team was to identify methods to decrease the likelihood that mentally ill offenders would be housed in the local jail.
Vision for EBDM
Yamhill County envisions a safer community where professionals work together utilizing data, research, and evidence-based practices in the criminal justice system.
Yamhill County will experience enhanced public safety, a reduction in the number of victims, greater offender accountability, and a reduced threat of harm through the appropriate application of proven practices at all phases of the criminal justice process.
Yamhill County stakeholders have a history of meeting weekly to work toward shared goals and system improvements. The EBDM policy team formed as a natural evolution of this work. The team is comprised of
- the presiding judge
- a county commissioner
- the district attorney
- the sheriff
- a defense attorney
- a victim advocate
- the director of Health and Human Services
- the director of community corrections
What stakeholders in Yamhill County are saying about the EBDM Initiative:
I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to take the hard work of our collaborative effort to a higher level. I believe this will be an opportunity not only for Yamhill County to improve our practices, but also to demonstrate an approach that can be a model for other counties, especially those of similar intermediate size and population. – Judge John L. Collins
EBDM will allow us to expand our evaluation of the entire criminal justice system and to make decisions that will reduce risk and harm to all of our citizens. The key policymakers in the county are already engaged and are committed to taking the next steps necessary. – Mary Stern, County Commissioner
Harm Reduction Goals
Yamhill County’s harm reduction goals include the following:
- Increase victim and public safety by reducing pretrial misconduct, increasing court appearance rates, making informed release decisions, and providing effective conditions of release for individuals who can be managed safely in the community.
- Reduce harm to defendants and their families due to unnecessary pretrial detention of individuals who can be safely managed in the community.
- Achieve greater financial return on investment in treatment, rehabilitation, and alternatives to incarceration.
- Reduce recidivism by 5% in community corrections felony populations over the next 48 months by improving early assessment practices and properly matching offenders to evidence-based programs based on their risk and need.
- Increase the overall health and safety of our community by focusing on cost-effective, research-based principles to improve our response to, and reduce the involvement of, special needs individuals in the criminal justice system.
Yamhill County’s activities
- The Yamhill County Policy Team meets monthly and is prioritizing its efforts on evidence-based sentencing, and evidence-based pretrial release and supervision.
- Regarding pretrial services, Yamhill County is currently exploring the possibility of shifting this function to the Community Corrections Department. No final decision has been made.
- Yamhill County was recently notified that it was selected as a participant in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). Preliminary meetings have already occurred regarding the need to improve its data management systems so that progress can be analyzed as plans are implemented.
- The policy team is also in the process of arranging local training. An expert from Multnomah County will be training Yamhill County officials on the use of the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument. A programming expert from Marion County will be offering parole and probation staff training on motivational and cognitive programs, and motivational group facilitation. The Community Corrections Manager and two parole and probation officers have recently begun EPICS training by the University of Cincinnati.
- Community Corrections has recently hired a new facilitator for Moral Reconation Therapy. A meeting is being scheduled with all community corrections program staff to re-evaluate and modify the county’s current menu of motivational and cognitive programs.
- Members of the Yamhill County Policy Team have given presentations on the EBDMI to the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, the Oregon Community Corrections Directors Association, the Oregon Community Corrections Commission, and to the National Association of Counties in Portland, Oregon.
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For more information on the effort in Yamhill County:
Contact Ted Smietana at firstname.lastname@example.org.