Christina McMahan Appointed Multnomah Juvenile Services Director

Posted November 8, 2012
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mult­nom­ah Coun­ty (Port­land), Ore­gon, has appoint­ed Christi­na McMa­han, a sea­soned juve­nile jus­tice pro­fes­sion­al with a com­mit­ment to reform, to direct the Juve­nile Ser­vices Divi­sion of its Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ty Justice.

My view of JDAI is less about deten­tion reform and more about juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem reform,” she said. While deten­tion has its place, JDAI has brought nation­al atten­tion to the fact that there are so many oth­er ways to effec­tive­ly work with youth rather than just lock­ing kids up.“
McMa­han comes to Mult­nom­ah from Rose­burg, Ore­gon, where she spent six years direct­ing the Dou­glas Coun­ty Juve­nile Depart­ment. Her duties includ­ed over­sight of the county’s juve­nile intake and pro­ba­tion units, and a 24-bed juve­nile deten­tion cen­ter. The Dou­glas Coun­ty Juve­nile Depart­ment joined with com­mu­ni­ty part­ners in devel­op­ing diver­sion pro­grams, a com­mu­ni­ty-based inter­ven­tion pro­gram for high-risk offend­ers, men­tal health and sub­stance abuse treat­ment ser­vices, and oth­er pro­grams. The depart­ment achieved a 60 per­cent drop in chron­ic offend­ers, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly reduc­ing the aver­age dai­ly use of deten­tion beds by near­ly 25 percent.
The key, in my mind, is to use the right inter­ven­tion with the right kid at the right time,” she said. McMa­han earned a bachelor’s degree in man­age­ment and orga­ni­za­tion­al lead­er­ship from George Fox Uni­ver­si­ty and a juris doc­tor degree from Willamette Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege of Law. Her ear­ly career includ­ed work­ing as a deputy dis­trict attor­ney in Mar­i­on Coun­ty, Ore­gon. She then spent sev­er­al years super­vis­ing the Juve­nile Divi­sion of the Deschutes Coun­ty Dis­trict Attorney’s Office in Bend, Oregon.She was part of a team from Deschutes that paid a site vis­it to Mult­nom­ah in 2003. The vis­it pro­vid­ed an intro­duc­tion to JDAI, and she con­tin­ued to fol­low Multnomah’s success.
Some have voiced an opin­ion that this approach is soft on crime,’” she said of JDAI. With the improved out­comes I have expe­ri­enced as a juve­nile depart­ment direc­tor, I would counter that it is smart on crime.’”

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