Multnomah County, Oregon, Stays “Smart on Crime”
By Cecilia Bianco, October 28 2013
The Office of National Drug Policy Control promotes a “smart on crime” approach that emphasizes prevention and access to treatment over incarceration in order to break the cycle of substance abuse, crime and re-arrest—especially among youth.
Programs like Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace are furthering the goals of the smart on crime approach by engaging the right people to improve services for youth in the justice system and positively impact the community.
In 2006, the program partnered up with Write Around Portland and local mentoring agencies to publish “When You Were Fifteen,” a collection of stories from adults and youth about what it was like to be 15—the average age of youth in the local juvenile justice system. This book continues to raise awareness of the need for caring adult mentors in the lives of youth caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
More recently, Multnomah Embrace hosted a spring meet and greet fair to connect young people with services and activities available in their community. The meet and greet also offered a panel of four teens from Lines for Life—a 24-hour teen-to-teen crisis, counseling and referral line. The teen panel members discussed the importance of healthy activities and shared personal stories of how these activities positively impacted their lives.