Charles French and John S. Foote's study Juvenile Justice in Oregon gives a grim view of the effectiveness of the current juvenile justice philosophy in most Oregon counties. Three of the counties (Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas) include 45% of Oregon residents. They have bought into the Annie E. Casey Foundation philosophy that limiting youth detention and lower involvement of formal justice institutions such as the courts in their cases will result in less juvenile crime.
The idea is that through an evaluation process it be can determined which juvenile offenders are most likely to need official intervention and the others are better left to their normal home environment. An expected side benefit is that a lower incarceration rate will mean lower state expenses to house and oversee juvenile offenders.
However, the data shows that Oregon's arrest rate (6,699 in every 100,000) is much higher than the national average (4,897 in every 100,000) and juvenile corrections costs per capita ($64.01) is 2nd highest in the nation at almost three times the national average ($20.14).
|Juvenile Justice in Oregon by Charles French and John S. Foote, p. 86|
The Casey-implanted philosophy of fewer detentions and interventions as regards juvenile offenders is in opposition to Oregon's stated statutory philosophy of "'early and certain intervention and sanctions' as the most effective way to hold juveniles accountable for their criminal behavior. (ORS4l 9C.00 1 )"
Oregon's juvenile arrest rate in 2010 was 12th highest in the nation. So, just in terms of cutting arrests, Oregon is not doing well compared to the other states. In 2011 Oregon's juvenile arrest rate for property crimes was 12th highest in the nation and almost worst in the nation at 2nd highest for juvenile drug arrests.
In at least one area of juvenile crime, adolescent drug abuse and resultant drug addiction, Oregon’s performance in the Casey Foundation era borders on catastrophic, deteriorating over a decade from better than average to the second worst rate in the nation. In Oregon today, as many minors use illegal drugs as drink alcohol. (p. 4)
Oregon did well only in juvenile violent crime arrest rate. Oregon scored below the national average at 38th highest in the nation. However, as French and Foote point out it is exactly in the violent crime area that there is much less discretion on applying Casey standards because juveniles ages 15 and up are treated as adult offenders.
The contrast between the performance of Oregon’s juvenile and adult systems is best seen in the area of major violent crime, where twenty years ago adult jurisdiction was mandated by state statutes for juveniles 15 years of age and older for major violent crime. Since the implementation of adult jurisdiction for major violent crimes in 1995, violent juvenile crime has decreased by 68%, one of the very best performances in the nation. (p. 4)Multnomah County has paid $6,000 for an analysis critical of French/Foote "logic", but has not denied the facts presented.