The Coos County Community Corrections 2017 Report shows positive numbers, either meeting or exceeding many of its goals.
Community Corrections creates probation and parole programs to help offenders make their way back to society without falling into old bad habits.
“We have the most comprehensive program, as far as trying to help people and get them steered in the right direction that we’ve ever had,” director of Community Correction Michael Crim said.
Community Corrections serves the county, but is funded through state grants, most of which come from Oregon Department of Corrections.
The report breaks down the amount of cases and the specifics of those cases that Community Corrections has tackled over the past year. Forty-nine percent of the 1,282 cases were either drug or theft related. It’s important to note that many cases do overlap. Someone could be released on probation for both a drug charge and an assault charge.
According to Community Corrections the number of offenders fluctuates around 600.
One well met goal was to have the percentage of parolees who repeat offenses is below the state average. The statewide average being 17.6 percent, with Coos County coming in at 10.7 percent of repeat offenders.
“The thing that we’re doing the best is communication," Crim said. "We have a lot of things at our disposal that we haven’t had historically, we have things like cognitive programs, and moral reconation therapy. The main thing that we’re great at is communication."
While numbers for parolees are positive, numbers for probationers don’t look quite so good. The percentage of probationers who receive a new felony conviction within one year of admission to probation was 19.6 percent, which is 4.9 percent higher than the national average.
“One of our biggest problems is that we need more custody response, some people need to be held longer. There’s a segment that aren’t ready to change during what’s called the pre-contemplative stage. Some of those folks need to be kept out of society a little bit longer,” Crim said
Community Corrections is working with the Sheriff’s office to fix its custody response issue. The Sheriff’s office is in the process of making more beds in the jail available by recruiting the staff they need to run the jail at a higher capacity.
Ninety-five percent of Coos County offenders who complete their treatment through Community Corrections will not re-offend within a year of completing treatment.
“We’re leading the way around the state in having a prosecutor assigned to the Community Corrections department. We decided to assign a deputy DA to the Community Corrections office, and it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done. There’s at least five other counties around the state that are copying our program. Having a deputy DA on our team that knows the cases as well as we do is one of the best things we’ve ever done,” Crim said.
Having a Prosecutor work with Community Corrections has also allowed new grant money through the Justice Reinvestment Grant. The grant is for developing between the district attorney’s office and Community Corrections to analyze cases that might be right for downward departure.
Downward departure are cases that qualify for a prison sentence, but on cases specifics are given the opportunity for probation. Of course, if offenders violate the terms of their probation they are sent to jail.
Coos County has a 40 percent success rate with downward departures, with the statewide success rate being only 30 percent.
The biggest problem that probation officers continue to face is drug abuse. So much so that their goal for the past year was to have 50 percent of all offenders test negative for illicit drug use at monthly screenings. They did not meet that goal, but they were close. Forty-five percent of offenders tested negative at monthly screenings.
The drug of choice for nearly half of all drug offenders in Coos County is methamphetamine, with 468 urine specimens testing positive for meth over the last year. However, opiates which account for 11 percent are on the rise here as they are across the U.S.
Corrections met or exceeded all of its measurement criteria for sex offenders, which make up 14 percent of their case load. In Coos County, 90 percent of sex offenders who receive treatment will not be convicted of a new sex crime while under supervision.
Moving forward, Community Correction has developed a two-year plan. They plan to continue to refine our local system by utilizing evidence based tools, swift response, effective interventions, and aggressive enforcement.