Presentation from Eugene and Medford Around Jail, Diversion and Mental Health

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NAMI Southern Oregon Co-hosted a presentation from Eugene and Medford Around Jail, Diversion and Mental Health on December 17, 2019.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Oregon (NAMI SO) joined Rogue Action Center (RAC) in co-hosting a presentation by Cheryl Stone, Court Administrator of the Eugene Community Court and Medford PD’s Chief Clauson who spoke about our local efforts on diversion, including the new Livability Team.

The Eugene Community Court aims to improve public safety and reduce misdemeanor activity in the downtown core to improve safety and quality of life for all. The process promotes responsibility in participants through a combination of supervised community service and direct connections to social service providers.

The foundation of the Community Court is a team of justice system and social service professionals dedicated to collaborating on cases to reach practical solutions. Representatives of several local social service agencies work with the Community Court team onsite to problem-solve with community members in need of assistance and connect them with services that will address their needs and help them move out of the criminal justice system and toward an improved quality of life.

Like Eugene, Medford has several diversionary courts, such as Mental Health Court and Drug Court. Sheriff Sickler has expressed an interest in starting a Community Court in Jackson County.

NAMI SO supported this presentation as a continuation of the Diversion Series that began with the CAHOOTS presentation in late September and continued with the presentation by Marion County in November.

In the US, over 2 million persons with serious mental illness are booked every year.  In 44 out of 50 states, jails and prisons hold more mentally ill individuals than the state hospitals, making diversion out of jails and into treatment one of NAMI’s key goals.