The City of Eugene is one of ten recipients nationwide announced today by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation, as a 2016 Community Court Grant Program winner.
As a selected site, the Eugene Community Court will receive $200,000, as well as technical assistance from the Center for Court Innovation to implement a community court. Community courts respond to quality-of-life crimes by ordering offenders to pay back the communities they’ve harmed through visible community service projects—for example, painting out graffiti, beautifying neighborhood parks, and cleaning up litter and debris from public streets. At the same time, community courts link offenders to services designed to help them address the underlying issues fueling their criminal behavior, such as drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services, job training, and public benefits. Nationally, research has shown that the community court model can reduce crime and substance use, increase services to victims, save money, and improve public confidence in justice.
The Presiding Judge of the City of Eugene Municipal Court, Hon. Wayne E. Allen, the City Prosecutor’s Office, and Eugene public defender firms all demonstrated their support for the project. “The community court is an innovative model used world-wide to address appropriate level crimes in a community with individualized justice rather than the one-size-fits-all traditional model of sentencing,” stated Presiding Judge Allen. The proposed implementation, he said, “helps address public safety concerns in the downtown area.”
The Eugene City Council is scheduled to hold a work session on April 27 to discuss Community Justice Initiatives.
For more information about the community court model, go to: www.courtinnovation.org/topic/community-court.