Background & Approach
Deschutes County is a mountain community located in the center of Oregon, three hours from Portland. The city of Bend is the county seat. Deschutes County launched a pilot pre-charge program, the Goldilocks Clean Slate Program, for people suspected of possession of a controlled substance. It was a two-tiered program that is part of the county’s broader Goldilocks program that focuses on graduated diversion and sentencing options for drug offenses. Possession-only crimes are now redirected out of the criminal justice system and into primary care with the Clean Slate Program. Program participants do not have cases filed if they attend an orientation meeting where they are assessed by a substance use disorder counselor; avoid receiving further citations from law enforcement; and, if required based on their assessment, substantially comply with a primary care physician’s medical recommendations over 12 months. As of December 2020, the 350 people who participated in the Goldilocks Clean Slate Program were far less likely to return to the criminal justice system. As of December 2020, The Clean Slate Program was able to maintain a two-year recidivism rate of 42%, far below the average recidivism rate for possession charges in either the state of Oregon or Deschutes County.
Deschutes County continues to engage with the Safety and Justice Challenge Network to rethink and redesign its criminal justice system so that it is more fair, just, and equitable for all.