PENDULUM SWINGING AWAY FROM RESTORATIVE JUVENILE JUSTICE
I applaud Judge Alta Brady and attorney Chris Gardner for challenging Deschutes County commissioners in their efforts to dismantle the county's once highly esteemed juvenile justice program. The program was championed by Dennis Maloney, former director of Deschutes County Juvenile Justice.
The concept is this:
The public has a right to a safe, secure community;
Juvenile offenders are obligated to be held accountable for breaking the law;
Juvenile offenders should leave the system with the resources and incentive to live more productive and responsible lives;
Each juvenile offender is a unique individual whose life circumstances contributed to the reasons he or she entered the justice system and should be assessed in order to identify the contributing factors then, whenever possible, directed to community resources that address those problems;
Justice is best served when the community, the victim, and the youth receive balanced attention and all gain tangible outcomes from their interaction with juvenile justice system.
From Juvenile Probation: The Balanced Approach by Dennis Maloney, Dennis Romig, & Troy Armstrong
Deschutes County Juvenile Justice put these principles into action and became recognized nationally as a model for using detention as a rare opportunity to redirect youth away from the pathway of crime and substance abuse.
The comments by current Juvenile Justice Director Ken Hales in The Source suggest he is concerned about the commissioner's determination to solve the adult jail problem by crippling the juvenile justice detention program, yet it is Hales who has virtually gutted the balanced/restorative justice program and can't seem to release detained youth fast enough.
Commissioner Tammy Baney responded to the question of whether cutting back on youth detention is safe with this: "What we are doing with the adult population is not." Apparently she has not connected the dots between the two. Where does she think adult offenders come from?
Commissioner Unger expressed concern about the financial burden of efforts to prevent high-risk youth from that fate. He apparently hasn't compared that cost to how much we pay to prosecute and incarcerate adults, whose chances of reform are slim. Sacrificing the opportunity to intercede in the trajectory of delinquent behavior toward a life of criminality in order to incarcerate more adults is not rationale thinking.
Hopefully, you care enough about our youth to email the commissioners today.
WALDEN'S TOWN HALL MEETING NOT WELL MANAGED
In the final month of the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain famously challenged a woman at a rally who called Barack Obama an "Arab." McCain had grown concerned about the increasingly anti-Muslim behavior of the crowds at his events and was trying to defuse this anger.
I want to think it was nothing more than jet lag that prevented Greg Walden from similarly jumping in to confront two audience members at his recent town hall, as they indulged at excruciating length in anti-Mexican-American comments. One even expressed a yearning for the good old days of Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative that, among other things, would have denied emergency room care for children of undocumented families. Prop 187 was rightly struck down in the courts.
Members of Mr. Walden's own party recognize the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The Dream Act itself was originally a Republican idea.
Mr. Walden, we are grateful that you are finally holding annual town halls in Bend, the largest city in your district. With practice will come more smoothly conducted meetings. For guidance in how to do it right, I would suggest you attend one of Sens. Wyden or Merkley's town halls.
At the very least, please show up refreshed and rested, so as not to get bogged down in the rambling, hateful incoherencies of some of your constituents.
In the Dec. 27 issue of the Source, you listed Things Not Welcome Back in 2013. Your diatribe against Chick-fil-A seemed a double standard. You told them in 2013 to keep their opinions to themselves.
If you are expressing your opinions in print, they should also be allowed the same courtesy. If you don't want to eat there, you don't' have to do so. Let those of us who support their positions do the same and enjoy their delicious chicken filet sandwiches. Maybe they will come to Bend. Be fair. Consider that.