The County and Library District provide general services to the broad community of County residents. For example, the Library operates regional and neighborhood libraries across the County and offers a variety of services to all residents. Public safety services are also designed to benefit all County residents. However, the County’s public safety programs are generally targeted at very specific populations within the County: those that have interacted directly with the justice system, such as inmates, parolees and people on probation.
General government and public safety programs use a mix of County and contracted staff to provide services. Within public safety programs in our sample, the Neighborhood District Attorney (Neighborhood DA) program provides services directly, while the Department of Community Justice (DCJ) primarily contracts with providers to deliver services to offenders and their families. We did not map the locations of services under DCJ, given the referral process for entry into these services.
We did map the Elections Division’s official ballot drop boxes and Library branch locations to ascertain how well they matched the distribution of the County’s population. And, we mapped Library cardholders who used their cards at least once in FY 2014. We found that the distribution of official ballot drop boxes and Library locations were generally a good fit with how the County’s population is distributed. However, this distribution was not reflected among the majority of individuals who used Library cards in FY 2014; this population was more centralized within the County.
Examples of efforts to reach intended service recipients
- The Elections Division recently mapped voter registrations and eligible voters in the County. This led Elections to establish a new 24-hour ballot drop box in the Centennial neighborhood.
- Library branches offer a number of collections and programs in languages other than English, including family story times and citizenship preparation classes. The Library has mapped where residents speak particular languages to ensure these resources are in the right places.
- The District Attorney’s Office has used crime statistics as well as information from police agencies to identify problem areas and to site its Neighborhood DA offices. The Neighborhood DA program works with community leaders to support mentorship and other intervention programs for offenders and to improve livability generally, such as through the Neighborhood DA’s involvement in the Rockwood/Rosewood Enrichment Neighborhood Enforcement Workgroup.
- To help keep at-risk youth out of the juvenile justice system, DCJ has two juvenile court counselors imbedded in Portland Public Schools (PPS), and one in the Portland Police Bureau’s Youth Services Division to cover PPS and the David Douglas and Parkrose School Districts.
- DCJ uses a standard process by which youth in the system are evaluated based on the “risk to reoffend.” Those that are assessed as being sufficiently high risk are referred into one or more programs – these programs include, but are not limited to: electronic monitoring, intensive home-based services and case management.
- DCJ’s adult offender services unit also has an assessment process that leads to referrals for additional services. Many of these services had involved drug and alcohol treatment and with the expansion of Medicaid coverage, DCJ has been able to find treatment for more offenders than in the past.
Examples of barriers
Resources available for Neighborhood DA offices are the primary barrier to the growth of the program. Direct contributions from non-County organizations, such as the Lloyd District, have an impact on the location of these offices.
- Referrals to DCJ’s high-risk youth programs are not limited by resources, but they are limited to those youth already in the juvenile justice system. And, the provision of services is dependent on police agencies to make arrests and issue citations. Larger police agencies, like the Portland Police Bureau, make more arrests, and as a result, a large majority of youth in services comes from Portland.