Printed on Feb 27, 2015 @ 5:05 AM
The Willamette Criminal Justice Council (WCJC) coordinates criminal justice plans for Benton County. It provides the structure to ease communication among agencies and creates opportunities for more efficient service delivery. The WCJC continually reviews its priority strategies and defines new ones to meet evolving community needs.
The WCJC was first brought together in 1993 to take a closer look at criminal justice planning. It was designed to promote and facilitate fair, efficient and coordinated criminal justice services in Benton County; provide long-range planning for delivering criminal justice services in the county; and to provide timely information about important criminal justice matters to government agencies and to the local public.
The WCJC is a unique forum where law enforcement, justice, city officials, interested parties, and citizen representatives come together to discuss local public safety issues. These types of councils also remain unique in their willingness and ability to take on significant projects that improve public safety services.
WCJC efforts have saved money, improved accuracy, and increased efficiency in the delivery of criminal justice services in Benton County and Oregon. Recent projects include promoting restorative justice through the Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) Victim Impact Panel of Benton County; encouraging coordination and cooperation among law enforcement agencies; supporting the Benton County Drug Treatment Court; enhancing relationships between OSU students, law enforcement and the community; and providing Methamphetamine Education Presentations.
The WCJC was formed by a group of criminal justice providers, led by the Benton County District Attorney. It is a policy-oriented council composed of concerned citizens, elected officials, criminal justice service providers, and providers of juvenile, health and social services. The WCJC was created by an intergovernmental agreement between Benton County, Adair, North Albany, Corvallis, Monroe, Philomath, and Oregon State University.
When it was formed, the Willamette Criminal Justice Council was unique in Oregon. In 1995, the WCJC served as the model when the Oregon Legislature created Local Public Safety Coordinating Councils (LPSCCs) in every county. Following passage of the LPSCC legislation in 1995, the Benton County Board of Commissioners designated the WCJC as Benton County's LPSCC.
In addition to coordinating local criminal justice policies, LPSCCs are required to develop and recommend plans for using state funds for treatment of the local adult offender population (Community Corrections Plan), as well as those who are between ages 15 and 18 (Juvenile Crime Prevention Plan).
The Plans must provide for coordination of community-wide services involving prevention, treatment, education, employment resources, and intervention strategies. The Plans also seek to maximize the effectiveness of limited community corrections funding through alternatives to incarceration. Cognitive programming, alcohol and drug treatment, Jobs Class for unemployed offenders, and work crews are examples of those alternatives.
Benton County continues to prioritize funding, jail space and rehabilitative programming for those offenders who pose the greatest risk to the community. The allocation of limited resources is based on how effective these programs are at changing offender behavior and reducing repeat offenses.
The Willamette Criminal Justice Council (WCJC) coordinates criminal justice plans for Benton County. The WCJC is a unique forum where law enforcement, justice, city officials, interested parties, and citizen representatives come together to discuss local public safety issues. These types of councils also remain unique in their willingness and ability to take on significant projects that improve public safety services.