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Progress Updates

The Access Committee publishes annual online progress reports describing its activities and successes. See Access Committee Progress Report 2006-2007Access Committee Progress Report 2005-2006, 2003-2004 Access Committee Progress Report, 2002 Progress Report, 2001 Progress Report, 2000 Progress Report, 1999 Progress Report, 1998 Progress Report, and 1997 Progress Report.

This page highlights some of the programs, projects, and initiatives throughout Oregon's justice system that help further the recommendations of the Racial/Ethnic Task Force, the Implementation Committee, the Gender Fairness Task Force, and the Gender Fairness Implementation Report. The Access Committee hopes to develop an online database of statewide efforts and foster collaboration among Oregon's justice system partners to ensure equal access for all.


Administration of Justice

The Oregon Supreme Court adopted a MCLE requirement that every three years, all practicing attorneys in Oregon must have three hours of education on "elimination of bias," which is defined as an activity "directly related to the practice of law and designed to educate attorneys to identify and eliminate from the legal profession and from the practice of law biases against persons because of race, gender, economic status, creed, color, religion, national origin, disability, age or sexual orientation.". See MCLE Rule 3.3.

The Office of the State Court Administrator received Byrne Grant funding to develop Spanish language translations of the Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) materials. These materials were translated by American Translators' Association accredited translators, proofed by the Oregon Judicial Department Interpreter Unit staff, and distributed to state courts in October 2002.

Multnomah County Circuit Court became Oregon's first state courthouse to provide free on-site, drop-in daycare for low-income families. The Multnomah CourtCare Program opened in December 2001, with trained child-care staff from Volunteers of America Oregon to care for up to six children, ages 0 - 6, from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM in a remodeled jury room. While the program aims to serve primarily low-income families, it will serve any litigant with a child who needs care.


Criminal Justice System

The Oregon State Police and 24 local police departments signed a Law Enforcement Non-Discrimination Resolution in April 1999, pledging to address the issue of race or ethnic-based policing. The resolution declares that bias and racial prejudice have no place in law enforcement; it charges professional police officers and citizens alike to remain vigilant against those who engage in these kind of illegal practices. In 2000, Portland Chief of Police Mark Kroeker established the Blue Ribbon Panel on Racial Profiling, a group of community leaders and Portland Police Bureau representatives, to address five main areas of concern regarding racial profiling: recruitment, promotion and retention; communication; training; data collection; and accountability.

Several police agencies in Oregon, including the Oregon State Police are currently collecting data on police stops. This data includes gender identification. Oregon Laws 2001, Chapter 687 created the Law Enforcement Contacts Policy and Data Review Committee with members appointed by the governor to receive and analyze demographic data to ensure that law enforcement agencies perform their mission without inequitable or unlawful discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

The Oregon District Attorneys Association revised and adopted its "Recommended Standards for Charging" by adding the following:

"Avoiding Improper Discrimination: A prosecuting attorney should not base the decision to initiate or decline prosecution upon factors of the accused or victim legally recognized to be deemed invidious discrimination, insofar as those factors are not pertinent to the elements of the crime."

Smart Sentencing: Project of an Oregon circuit judge to implement decision support technology to inform judges of which sentences are most likely to prevent further criminal behavior by the offender. Using this system, judges would consult readily available data to see which sanctions and programs have been successful. Multnomah County has implemented such a data warehouse, called the Decision Support System for Justice.

The Oregon Department of Corrections is working with the Social Learning Center to develop a comprehensive parenting program for parents in prison and transitioning back into the community. This 18-month project will involve 480 inmates, equal numbers of men and women, in a 12-week program. The pilots will occur at the Coffee Creek and OSCI facilities.

Project Link-Up: This program trains University of Oregon law students in criminal justice issues and allows them to work with child- custody issues of women prisoners.


Juvenile Justice System

The Oregon Youth Authority formed the Office of Minority Services that provide an array of services to accommodate the cultural and language needs of youth in confinement and to help these youth transition back to their families.

Since 1997, the Governor's Summit on the Over-Representation of Minorities in the Juvenile Justice System has provided an annual forum for Oregon's juvenile justice system partners to collaborate. Former Governor John Kitzhaber, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court Wallace P. Carson, Jr., Attorney General Hardy Myers, Senator Avel Gordly, and Oregon Department of Education Superintendent Susan Castillo are among the Summit's distinguished speakers. Participants include a broad mix of state and local government administrators, private sector service providers, community organizers, and others.

Multnomah County has received national acclaim for its innovative detention reform strategies to reduce disproportionate minority confinement. Learn more about the issue and Multnomah County's response in Reducing Disproportionate Minority Confinement: The Multnomah County Oregon Success Story and its Implications, a report by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (2002).

Cultural Competency and Gender Specific Resource Guide (404k) Adobe PDF icon: Prepared by the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (First Edition, April 2001)

A Guidebook: How to Implement Oregon's Guidelines for Effective Gender-Responsive Programming for Girls (July 2002) Adobe PDF icon: This guidebook was produced in Oregon as a resource for organizations and agencies that work with girls ages 10-19. It provides information and suggestions for implementing the "Guidelines for Effective Gender-Specific Programming for Girls (2000)."


Civil Justice System

The Oregon Judicial Department, State Family Law Advisory Committee, and Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence presented education programs on domestic violence for judges and court staff throughout Oregon in 2001 and 2002.

The Oregon State Bar Tel-Law project, a free telephone-based collection of recorded messages written by Oregon lawyers on many legal subjects, including domestic violence, is available in Spanish and Vietnamese; a Russian translation will be available in 2003. Spanish transcripts of all Tel-Law recordings for the OSB website are in progress. The Bar also provides LegalLinks brochures on many legal topics, including divorce (called "dissolution of marriage"), in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian.


Culturally Competent Justice System

Understanding Racism Foundation: This nonprofit organization was founded by Retired Chief Justice Edwin J. Peterson in response to issues identified by the Oregon State Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Issues in the Judicial System. The Foundation offers a six-week curriculum to raise the level of awareness of the participants concerning racial discrimination and has conducted courses for hundreds of participants throughout Western Oregon.