(Update: add video, Hummel comments)
Volunteers wanted for a joint initiative with 12 young adults at the start
BEND, Oregon (KTVZ) – Deschutes County’s District Attorney John Hummel announced Thursday that his office will officially launch the Deschutes County’s Emerging Adult Pilot on July 1. Time offenders between the ages of 18 and 24 have the opportunity to direct their lives on a more positive path. “
The program will last nine months in collaboration with four other key organizations. Hummel told NewsChannel 21 that a six-month pilot program was “too short” while a two-year pilot program was “too long”.
“We want to help young adults thrive,” Hummel told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday. “This is good for them and this is good for their future spouses and children, and this is good for our community. Because if these children are successful, they will be less likely to commit crimes in the future – and that will lead to a safer Deschutes County. And that is the ultimate goal. “
According to Hummel, this program is not only a first for the Deschutes district, but could also be a first for the state.
“We have to get them help and corrective actions, give them mentors and hold them accountable if necessary,” said Hummel. “We don’t have to burden them with adult beliefs that will affect them for the rest of their lives. ”
If the pilot program is successful, Hummel will likely expand it – and if not, it will be scrapped.
Here’s the rest of Hummel’s Thursday announcement:
The Emerging Adult Program is rethinking how we deal with young adults working in the criminal justice system, as traditional law enforcement is not always the best answer. This is especially true for 18- to 24-year-olds who make critical life decisions, although research has found that their brain is not yet fully developed, which can lead to wrong decisions. The District Attorney’s plan is to implement a distraction program in advance, based on methods of restorative justice, that will allow young adults to take responsibility for their actions, while also providing them with the resources and actionable steps they can take need to change their resume.
“We all made decisions in our youth that we might make differently today if we had to do it again,” said Hummel.
“While we cannot offer ‘repetition’ to ourselves or an aspiring adult, we can help young adults understand the impact their actions have on others, enable them to make up for their missteps, and take steps to ensure that they don’t repeat the same mistake, “he added. “What is the value of the criminal justice system if its response is focused only on punishment, and that response prevents that person from ever having the opportunity to be truly successful?”
The Emerging Adult Pilot Program is a community initiative that includes the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, volunteer community facilitators and defenders, Deschutes County Behavioral Health Services, Thrive Central Oregon, the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, and Community Solutions of Central Oregon.
This integrated, holistic team will provide 12 first-time offenders with access to appropriate individualized community services to help them find the support, education and / or employment opportunities they need to orient their lives on a path to future success.
For the emerging adult pilot program to be successful, the prosecution needs community volunteers to serve as trained facilitators of restorative justice. These moderators will talk to these young adults about their protégés and their current life situation and create an approved personalized intervention plan with them.
We are looking for people who are passionate about helping young adults and changing the lives of other community members. Volunteers are trained so that no prior knowledge of the criminal justice system or the restorative justice model is required.
Volunteers must be:
At least 21 years old,
Open to reform measures in the criminal justice system,
Be able to commit to at least half a day for the program once a month on a Thursday (July 2021 – March 2022), and
Attend a Zoom multi-session training event starting mid-June 2021.
Those with real experience in the criminal justice system are encouraged to volunteer for this opportunity.
To learn more about the opportunity for Emerging Adult Volunteers, community members are invited to attend an informational webinar Monday, June 7th, 2021 at 12:00 p.m..
Register for this one-hour information event using the following link code: