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Our vision is to balance treatment and accountability to transform lives, ensure safety and strengthen our community.
In 2021, voters renewed the Benton County Public Health and Safety Local Option Levy to fund health and safety programs. This provides a planning horizon for program operations and allows the County to focus on facilities that would house and support those programs. With the levy funding in place, the County has implemented a number of the recommended system improvements. Proposed facility improvements are dependent on passing the May 2023 bond measure.
Enhanced Accountability and Rehabilitation Opportunities
Expanded Pretrial Services will reduce the high rate of failures to appear in court and offer an alternative to incarceration/jail. Electronic monitoring is a tool of Pretrial Services to reduce the high rates of failure to appear in court. It provides notifications to individuals that have upcoming court dates, and improved ankle bracelet monitoring to keep better track of monitored individuals.
Expanded rehabilitative opportunities will be provided to our adults in custody to help them prepare for life after incarceration/jail and to reconcile with the community. Examples include substance abuse meetings, parenting courses, GED preparation courses, and other self-development opportunities.
Enhanced Mental Health Services
One of the County’s goals is for all law enforcement officers in the County to participate in Crisis Response Intervention Training. This training equips law enforcement officers to better understand and interact with those in our communities who experience developmental or intellectual disabilities and those who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
In July 2021, the Benton County Behavioral Health Department and Corvallis Police Department launched the CORE program, which pairs a qualified mental health professional and a crisis intervention-trained police officer to resolve mental health crisis calls. CORE’s mission is to provide trauma-informed care to those experiencing a mental health crisis while ensuring the safety of responders, the person in crisis, and the community. Furthering this work, the County plans to open a crisis center, a 24/7, walk-in Crisis Center facility located in downtown Corvallis.
Improved Data Analysis
Data evaluation and metrics is an important feedback loop to ensure the justice system is operating as intended and to identify areas for improvement.
Planned and Proposed New Facilities
- The new Benton County Crisis Center will be a walk-in, treatment-centered facility and may be an alternative to the emergency room. It will also serve as a resource for community partners, from non-profits to law enforcement agencies, who need help accessing behavioral health needs for clients and community members. It will be located in downtown Corvallis.
A Community Safety and Justice Campus, located one mile north of downtown Corvallis would bring justice services to a single location. The campus has been selected to serve as the central location for a new courthouse and District Attorney’s Office. If the bond measure passes, the proposed new correctional facility, Sheriff’s Office, and Emergency Operations Center would be located on the campus
- The new Courthouse and District Attorney’s offices will provide improved safety and accessibility to everyone that uses the building. The Courthouse will be funded with a 50% matching grant and the remaining costs for these two facilities will be funded through County borrowing.
With input from County staff, partner organizations and agencies, community organizations, and residents, Benton County Commissioners voted to place a $110 million bond measure on the May 2023 ballot to fund the proposed new JSIP facilities.
- A proposed new Correctional Facility would replace the existing jail. The new facility would be designed to meet modern facility standards and would have increased capacity including a therapeutic area for adults in custody who need mental health and addiction services and support.
- A proposed new Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Operations Center would be co-located on the campus to provide operational efficiency, with ample parking and a modern facility for these services.
The bond measure did not pass and Benton County Commissioners will evaluate future options for funding the needed facilities.
Learn more about the history of the Justice System Improvement Program.