NORCOR Board Asks Counsel And Staff To Prepare Public Response To DRO Report

The Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility board met for about two hours Friday, mostly in executive session, to discuss a Disability Rights of Oregon report that was extremely critical of NORCOR’s juvenile detention facility, and reached consensus on having NORCOR legal counsel Will Carey and Wasco County attorney Kristen Campbell put together a public response with assistance from NORCOR administrator Bryan Brandenburg and juvenile director Jeff Justesen.  The board along with representatives from sheriff’s offices, juvenile departments, and other county commissioners all indicated they believe most of the accusations in the report are exaggerated, some areas that need correcting are being worked on, and a number of the concerns were things NORCOR is not responsible for.  NORCOR board and Wasco County Commission Chair Rod Runyon said he believes they are moving in a positive direction, adding they have to take any charges seriously.  Other county commissioners were critical of Wasco County’s letter released Wednesday evening that said they would redirect any youth in NORCOR custody to a different facility pending resolution of the findings and recommendations from the report, with Hood River County Commission Chair Ron Rivers saying “We are a four-county institution, we don’t act autonomously.”  Runyon said he feels good about Wasco County youth being at NORCOR, with fellow Wasco County Commissioner Scott Hege adding he feels it’s a quality facility.  Justesen pointed out that Umatilla County have two youth currently in the facility and are not removing them, the Bureau of Indian Affairs did a site visit and will report to the Warm Springs tribal government their children are treated well and safe, and three other counties plan to continue placing juveniles with NORCOR.  The Oregon Youth Authority has been invited to do an inspection in the near future.

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