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Jefferson County Native American Treatment

Jefferson County Native American Treatment

Jefferson County Community Corrections

Synopsis: Jefferson County increased its capacity to provide in-jail substance use treatment services to all local defendants, including some Native American–specific jail treatment services.


Problematic Behavior Or Activity

Based on data provided by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, arrest rates among Native Americans in Jefferson County have been disproportionately high. Among Native Americans involved in the criminal justice system, many struggle with addiction issues that could be categorically defined as chronic and severe.

This program was developed as part of Oregon’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a statewide effort to reduce prison use after Oregon’s prison incarceration rate increased by nearly 50 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Impact On The Community

Most residents of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation live in Jefferson County. Residents of Warm Springs and members of federally recognized Indian tribes in other locations nearby constitute a significant percentage of the Jefferson County Adult Community Corrections caseload. Harmful use of alcohol and other drugs frequently results in individuals committing crimes to support their substance use. This compromises public safety and quality of life.


Program Description

To address these problems, Jefferson County decided to increase its capacity to provide in-jail substance use treatment services to all local defendants, including some Native American–specific jail treatment services. Four gender-specific treatment groups are provided weekly at the Jefferson County Jail, with priority given to Adult Community Justice offenders and Drug Court clients. Two of the four weekly groups are Native American, gender-specific treatment groups facilitated by Native American clinicians from a local contracted behavioral health agency. The agency’s behavioral health–substance use program provides an intensive, gender-specific outpatient day treatment program, which also offers several treatment groups for Native Americans. The average length of participation in the day treatment program is six months. High-intensity substance use clients also receive recovery mentoring services. All Native American–specific substance use groups in the jail and in the community are facilitated by Native American certified clinicians. The local substance use provider’s treatment team also has a Native American outreach specialist.

Based On Research

The substance use treatment groups in jail and in the community rely on evidence-based practices such as Moral Reconation Therapy, the Stages of Change model, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Tribal best practices include White Bison/Mending Broken Hearts and providing culturally relevant staff and programming.


Jefferson County allocates a percentage of its 2015-2017 Justice Reinvestment Funds, $341,844, to help fund jail substance use groups and the community-based intensive outpatient/day treatment program.


Program Impact

Proposed outcomes include the following:

  • Reducing Jefferson County’s prison population and future growth of the population by targeting medium- and high-risk offenders who have downward dispositional departures and would otherwise be sent to prison;
  • Reducing recidivism among offenders managed by Jefferson County Adult Corrections;
  • Increasing the number of Native American offenders who access treatment services; and
  • Increasing offender accountability.

Critical Success Factors

The program has resulted in more medium- and high-risk Native American offenders accessing substance use treatment in Jefferson County. Many of the most chronically addicted offenders who previously had very low engagement/retention in substance use treatment have participated in treatment in custody and transitioned into community-based treatment upon release.

Lessons Learned

Program planning and implementation must be collaborative and multidisciplinary and include Adult Community Corrections, the treatment provider, and jail staff. For effective, culturally responsive treatment programming for Native American offenders, it is critical to have certified Native American substance use professionals.