County to host virtual community meeting on Justice System Improvements September 8

Friday, September 3, 2021

Benton County’s Justice System Improvement Program is set to host its first large virtual community meeting on Wednesday, September 8 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The meeting marks the kickoff of the Program’s broad public engagement efforts as it prepares for a November 2022 bond measure.

Beginning late July, the County began targeted public engagement for site concepts for future justice system facilities. Early efforts included hosting small group discussions with key justice system stakeholders. The County then moved to presentations with neighborhood associations, the local business community, and other community-based organizations.

Now, the County is broadening the public engagement opportunities to include all members of the public. In the September 8 virtual meeting, the County will present the refined concepts that staff presented to stakeholders earlier in the summer. From there, the County will weigh community feedback and other factors to further refine facilities site concepts.

“Our small group discussions have provided us with feedback and ideas on conceptual designs of sites and facilities that are enormously helpful as we strive to build a justice system to meet the needs of Benton County residents for the next 40 years,” said Nick Kurth, Justice System Improvement program manager. “Going into our larger public engagement sessions, I am hopeful to hear from all corners of the County, to understand how the needs and concerns of the broader community align with those of our community organizations and businesses.”

Identifying and implementing improvements to the justice system has long been a priority for the County. Between 2017 and 2019, the County conducted the Criminal Justice System Assessment. The findings of which inform today's Justice System Improvement Program. Over the last year, Benton County renewed its Public Health and Safety Local Option Levy, which is critical to funding Benton County’s justice system operations. Additionally, Benton County Justice System Improvement Program staff collaborated with both a Technical Advisory Committee and Community Advisory Committee during its current Predesign Phase, including refining an initial list of over 40 possible sites down to the locations and concepts now presented to stakeholders and the public.

Community members can register for the September 8 virtual event at https://bit.ly/BentonCoGov-JSIP_Webinar.