BEND, OR -- Deschutes County launched the Goldilocks program in November, aimed at tailoring punishments for drug crimes. And, District Attorney John Hummel is pleased with the early response, "So, if you’re a low-level user; you’re not dealing, you’re just possessing drugs, you’re just hurting yourself and your family, we’re going to get you into medical treatment immediately, we’re not going to run you through the criminal justice system. But, if you’re dealing drugs to our community, and you’re doing it repeatedly over and over again, we’re going to get tougher on you. We’re going to seek the maximum prison sentence." A mid-range option takes a more traditional justice system approach.
Hummel tells KBND News, "Two months in, we have 25 people in the treatment program." He says two others qualified for the strictest punishment level, "We’re tracking the results, so we have a long way to go." Hummel adds, "At the end of this pilot program, we’re going to look at the recidivism rates, and if we have significantly lower recidivism rates through the Goldilocks program than through traditional criminal justice, we’re going to keep doing it. And, if it doesn’t work, we’re going to scrap it and try something else, because I don’t have time to waste on a program that’s not working."
He admits the pilot program won't help everyone, "I will guarantee right now that people who go through the Goldilocks program will re-offend. I will also guarantee right now that people who go through the criminal justice system will re-offend. So, the question is, 'where is the re-offense rate lower?' I am saying that the re-offense rate will be lower for the people who go through the Goldilocks program." Hummel believes that by getting more addicts into treatment, the program will also reduce the number of other crimes, like theft.
To hear our full conversation with D.A. John Hummel click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.