Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill recently participated in the 11th Annual American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section Fall Institute held in Washington, D.C.
The ABA selected Underhill to be one of the speakers during the themed discussion of “Prosecutors as Agents of Change.” The event was moderated by Justin Bingham, the City Prosecutor for the City of Spokane, Washington. The panel discussed their role as change agents in the criminal justice system and ways to improve the criminal justice system for individuals arrested for possession of a controlled substance.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill shared among other things success of the Treatment First program, which is a partnership of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, the Multnomah County Circuit Court, defense services, the Department of Community Justice (DCJ), local law enforcement and community treatment providers. The program is dedicated to helping individuals break their drug dependent lifestyle, reuniting families, reducing recidivism and improving public safety in Multnomah County.
The Treatment First program uses a validated risk-needs assessment tool. The District Attorney’s Office recognizes that the program serves a diverse population and as such, the program ensures each individual’s specific needs are met.
People with low risk and low needs are assigned a Community Court treatment and supervision track, which will ensure their accountability to the criminal justice system while an individual who may be at high risk to recidivate and have higher needs for treatment is given intensive supervision.
“Getting the opportunity to be a part of the American Bar Association’s panel on this issue is a tremendous honor,” District Attorney Underhill said. “Our group covered a spectrum of issues that prosecutors across the country are dealing with right now including the responsible use of jail space. Being in the room with other prosecutors allows us to highlight the work we’re doing locally, but also learn from their experiences.”
Other speakers who participated in the “Prosecutors as Agents of Change” forum included Jonathan Blodgett (Essex District Attorney and NDAA President, Salem MA); Kim Foxx (Cook County State’s Attorney, Chicago, IL); Ronald Goldstock (Professor, New York University School of Law Of Counsel, Pugh, Jones & Johnson P.C.); Kristine Hamann (Prosecutors’ Center For Excellence, New York, NY); and Marilyn Mosby (State’s Attorney, Baltimore, MD)
To learn more about the American Bar Association, please click here.
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director