© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Justice Initiative Uses Support And Care Approach For Minor Offenders

Brian Bull

An initiative to help low-level offenders in Eugene get help instead of jail time is celebrating its first month, and graduate.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. 

Launched last month, the Community Court offers social services for those who’ve been cited or simply need help getting off the streets.  

Credit Brian Bull
Eugene's bus terminal, where minor offender "Michael" was cited, then brought to the Community Court. He says it's really helped him.

One such person – whom we’ll call by his first name --  graduates today.  “Michael” was unemployed and homeless.  He was cited with criminal trespass at the bus terminal.

“I’ve gotten a job out of this opportunity, got plugged into the Goodwills and some other community services that are out there," Michael tells KLCC.

"It’s really working with me to be able to get me back on my feet and help me strive to be a better person.” 

Judge Wayne Allen presides over the Community Court. He says many who appear before him were once productive members of their community.

“Then one or two events would cause them to lose their employment, then the downward spiral to homelessness, and then the drug and alcohol that go with that," explains Judge Allen.  

" So the impetus is to help people.” 

Credit Brian Bull
Judge Wayne Allen, outside the Community Court in the Eugene Public Library.

A prosecutor says a community court in Spokane has alleviated crime and homelessness in that city.    

Eugene’s court is supported by a 2-year, $200,000 federal grant.  It’s held Fridays at the Eugene Public Library. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content