Printed on Jun 20, 2013 @ 4:53 AM
Community Supervision • Administration • Work Crew • Drug Testing • Outpatient Alcohol & Drug Treatment • Sex Offender Group Therapy • Sex Offender Supervision • Employment Counseling and Job Search • Transition Program
At any given time, approximately 450 Benton County offenders are serving their sentences in the community under the supervision of Parole and Probation Officers. This is known as "community supervision." It provides supervision and sanctions to convicted Benton County offenders on probation, parole or post-prison supervision.
Supervising Parole and Probation Officers perform random residence checks, ensure that offenders pay court-ordered restitution, fines and supervision fees, conduct pre-sentence investigations and assessments of offender risk, and facilitate placement in rehabilitation programs.
Contrary to some popular belief, many offenders can be safely and effectively supervised in the community without having to compete for costly and scarce jail cells. Of those who are placed under supervision in Benton County, approximately 75% remain felony conviction-free for at least 3 years. (The Oregon Department of Corrections defines recidivism as a felony conviction within 3 years of the inception of supervision.)
Running cost-effective Community Corrections programs requires a great deal of planning and evaluation. This is the domain of the Parole and Probation management team. In addition to day-to-day supervision, administration develops biennial community corrections plans as required by Oregon law, new programs, annual evaluations of all existing programs, budgets, operational policies and procedures, staff training and community education.
Administration provides advice and guidance on matters of community corrections to the Board of Commissioners, the Sheriff and the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council.
The Work Crew Program in Benton County continues to be a cost-effective means for offenders to pay back their debt to the community. Work Crew is an alternative to incarceration and allows space at the jail to be used for more dangerous offenders.
Benton County Community Corrections coordinates the Work Crew Program and the participants are supervised by the Benton County Parks Department. During the past year, work crew participants performed 14,288 hours of supervised work in and around the community, in the county parks and other public areas. In addition to the free labor performed in local parks and other areas, the cost savings in jail bed days was $267,900.
In Benton County, offenders under supervision who have a history of substance abuse, or those believed to be involved in the use of controlled substances are required to submit random urine samples for drug testing.
Over the past year, corrections offenders submitted 1749 urine samples for drug testing. Of those 1749 samples, 22% tested positive for THC (marijuana), 6.9% tested positive for amphetamine/methamphetamine, 2.1% tested positive for opiates, and 1.25% tested positive for benzodiazepines. Positive tests for barbiturates and cocaine were below 1%. Over the past several years, there has been a significant decline in the number of positive amphetamine/methamphetamine tests, as well as a slight increase in the samples which test positive for opiates.
In Benton County, at least 80 percent of offenders have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. The Benton County Health Department offers outpatient alcohol and drug treatment programs available for offenders.
Benton County Community Corrections works together with New Beginnings Treatment Center which provides a number of services for corrections offenders. There are many different evidence-based outpatient treatment programs which include education groups such as "Getting Motivated to Change", and "Thinking for a Change", dual diagnosis, gender specific programs, and intensive outpatient treatment.
Although deviant sexual urges can never be "cured," sex offenders can be taught how to effectively control their deviancy through intensive group therapy, coupled with strict supervision and periodic polygraph examinations.
Through a partnership with John Caywood, MS, a sex offender treatment therapist from the Salem area, specialized group therapy is now provided at the Parole and Probation department for indigent Benton County sex offenders. Mr. Caywood works in conjunction with the Parole and Probation Officer assigned to supervise the sex offender caseload to enhance community safety.
A specially-trained Parole and Probation Officer supervises all sex offenders in Benton County. This includes home visits and searches, risk assessment, referral of offenders to proper treatment programs, monitoring treatment progress, scheduling of polygraph examinations, arranging for the taking of DNA samples, keeping current addresses for sex offender registration, coordinating sex offender notification activities and management of the Benton County Sex Offender Community Notification web page.
This kind of preventative approach seeks to interdict the sex offender's offense cycle before it progresses to the stage of repeat criminal activity.
Helping offenders obtain gainful employment is one of the most successful ways of rehabilitation. According to a 2001 study of Georgia parolees, each day of employment results in a one percent reduction (i.e., 30% over a month) in the likelihood of arrest.
Employment counseling and job search classes are offered to Benton County offenders at the Parole and Probation office.
Offenders are taught how to fill out job applications, how to interview, and how to keep a job once obtained. Then they are given opportunities to practice these skills by engaging in supervised job searches.
The Transition Program works to ensure the smooth reintegration process for offenders returning to Benton County from extended sentences in the Oregon Department of Corrections prison institutions as well as offenders serving sentences of less than one year in the Benton County Jail as part of Senate Bill 1145.
The Transition Center is a drug and alcohol free apartment living space that can hold up to six offenders at any given time. While offenders are at the Transition Center, residents are given frequent drug and alcohol tests, daily searches, mandatory curfew, weekly community service assignments, and cleaning responsibilities. Offenders can stay up to 90 days in the Transition Center if they are following rules, and working on self-sufficiency. The job of the Transition Officer's job is to identify these offenders before the scheduled day of release, and assist the offenders in preparing realistic release plans.
We serve the community by enhancing public safety through the reformation of offenders and the reduction of criminal behavior.