During a three-day in-person session last week, the Multnomah County Transforming Justice project got an infusion of energy and passion. Members of the Transforming Justice working group and a handful of other key voices involved in the project reunited to move the vision and core strategies toward implementation.
After significant deliberation, the group was able to find alignment within several of the eighteen core strategies, which will simplify implementation efforts. This alignment allowed for deeper discussion of the discrete areas of work and elicited possible champions for all of the core strategies. It was also made clear that the implementation work ahead will be challenging and require more public-private partnerships.
The group was reminded how audaciously aspirational the vision is, yet also identified multiple areas with ample opportunity for immediate change and improvement. With the diverse voices present throughout the three days, the group also identified county and non-county work already underway that points toward the core strategies and the vision. Here are some examples:
- Core Strategy 3, Prioritize and fund behavioral health treatment and services that meets the needs of the people:
- Bridge Treatment Team contracts with peers to support individuals with criminal legal system exposure
- Karibu 14-bed treatment facility for African American men
- Core Strategy 13, Enhance safety-net services to address basic needs and root causes of crime:
- Core Strategy 18, Ensure criminal background is not a barrier to housing access, employment opportunities, and education:
- Legal Services Day
- District Attorney-led effort to remove false felony driver license suspensions
The three days were both audacious and concrete. One of the key takeaways from the work together was the need for tools and techniques to help deepen commitment and movement into implementation.
In short order, documentation from the session will be available for review. Tools and techniques to support implementation are under development and will be shared across partners and potential champions.
After three days of taxing work (which required excessive amounts of caffeine and chocolate), the participants shared immense gratitude for one another, their commitment, and partnership.