Sentencing program targets prison overcrowding

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Oregon is facing a growing problem with prison overcrowding…but a new program in Klamath County is aimed at helping to reduce those numbers.

The ‘Klamath Evidence Based Sentencing Program’ (KEBSP) hopes to ease a state problem.

“We’re overcrowded in our prison population.”  Explains Klamath County Community Corrections Director Kiki Parker-Rose.  “And there’s a huge push from the state to reduce the number of people going to prison.”

Klamath County Trial Court Administrator John Powell says the program would focus on non-violent offenders…

“Particularly drug offenses.  It’s appropriate to find a sentence that would give these offenders options for treatment, and not so much punishment.”

Parker-Rose adds that the program may also help to reduce the number of repeat offenders…

“Our success rate with coming out of prison is not as good as working with people before they go to prison.”

Offenders are assessed for their risk, their needs, and their motivation to change their behavior.

“We take a look at all of those assessments, and make a decision if we can supervise that person safely in our community.”  Notes Parker-Rose.

So far this year, only 5 people have been accepted into the program – but Powell says that number is expected to rise…

“It’s similar to, for example, drug court.  You usually start out very small, and eventually, the program grows and grows and it’s much more popular.”

Klamath County has received $650,000 in state funding for the program.

The effort involves Klamath County Circuit Court, Klamath County Community Corrections, the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office, Klamath Basin Behavioral Health, and individual mentors.


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