Deschutes County officials are concerned about possible State budget cuts. Concern is over community programs aimed at keeping people out of jail. Prevention is more cost effective than incarceration, and breaks the cycle. The concern is that some of the funding for these preventative programs could fall to the budget axe. Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Michael Sullivan is a bit worried about several projects, including Family Court and the Mental Health Diversion Programs. “Andif those folks do certain things, and they take their medication, and take their treatment, they don't go to jail. What that means is the community saves a lot less money because it's about $90 a day for that bed.” Sullivan says the Family Court Program is designed to keep families together. The national success rate is 15%, in Deschutes County it's 50%. Sullivan says that's due to agency cooperation and caring staff. The Governor's proposed budget calls for a 20% cut.
High Risk Youth Also in Jeopardy
Oregon judicial advocates are nervously watching the budget cutting in salem. The first budget proposal was to close almost half of the 887 secure beds for the highest risk youth in oregon. “If we are closing this many beds, we most likely would be stepping some youth down from the correctional facility to residential, and then moving some youth from residential to the community. The bottom line is we may have higher risk youth in the community.” Oregon Youth Authority's Donna McLung says the Governor has since reconsidered and added 200 beds back in the budget. She says Deschutes County is among a consortium that shares 79 with 17 counties. McClung doesn't know what the final number will be but says counties will have to sharpen their pencils and consider cost effective alternatives for the less violent offenders.