Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »


Equity and Cultural Responsive Services

The mission of the Criminal Justice Commission (“CJC”) is to improve the legitimacy, efficiency, and effectiveness of state and local criminal justice systems. A vital component of that mission includes viewing those systems with an equity and inclusion lens.1

Oregonians involved with the criminal justice system often come from historically and currently underserved communities that face unique challenges and ongoing disparities. These challenges frequently lead to inconsistent outcomes. In an effort to address those challenges, the CJC is committed to increasing equity in its grant programs.

As an agency that allocates statewide grants, the CJC’s commitment to equity extends to all of our grantees. While working to increase equity and decrease disparities for underserved populations will not occur overnight, the CJC expects all grant applicants to make efforts to increase equity in their programs.

1 See House Bill 3064 (2019) Report, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, September 15, 2020.  

Terms and Concepts

Oregon has strength in its rich diversity reflected in both county and tribal communities within state boundaries. The CJC recognizes all communities as unique and independent with differing local strengths and barriers when accessing resources. To provide applicants with a framework for some equity concepts to consider when drafting grant applications, please see below:

Diversity is the appreciation and prioritization of different backgrounds, identities, and experiences collectively and as individuals. It emphasizes the need for representation of communities that are systemically underrepresented and under-resourced.

Equity acknowledges that not all people, or all communities, are starting from the same place due to historic and current systems of oppression. Equity is the effort to provide different levels of support based on an individual’s or group’s needs in order to achieve fairness in outcomes.

Inclusion is a state of belonging when persons of different backgrounds, experiences, and identities are valued, integrated, and welcomed equitably as decision makers, collaborators, and colleagues.

Culturally Responsive Services are services that have been adapted to honor and align with the beliefs, practices, culture, tribal affiliation, and/or linguistic needs of underserved communities2. These community members identify as having specific cultural or linguistic affiliation by virtue of their place of birth, ancestry or ethnic origin, religion, preferred language or language spoken at home, or other held identities.

Assumptions are beliefs we presuppose or take for granted without question. We accept these beliefs to be true and use them to interpret the world around us.

Stereotypes are assumptions made about an entire group of people, often generalizing all people in a group to be the same and without consideration for individual differences. We often base stereotypes on misconceptions or incomplete information.

Bias is a conscious and/or unconscious thought or stereotype in favor of or against a person or group of people that shapes and informs thinking and interactions often in a way that is considered to be unfair.

Inclusive Communications apply equity and inclusion to all messaging to ensure that historically excluded groups are heard and informed. Some examples include:

  • Community Input - Collaborate with community members to develop messages and communication products that resonate with and are accessible to the intended community.

  • Language and Translation - Ensure all Oregonians have access to translated material in preferred languages. Translate important information and guidance in a timely way. Communicate information clearly and in a manner that is culturally and linguistically responsive to the impacted community member(s).

  • Accessibility - Ensure people with disabilities have access to information in appropriate formats and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • Trusted Messaging - Communicate with underserved populations through trusted local leaders, community-based organizations, and community stakeholders.

  • Appropriate Mediums - Deliver information via community-based mediums and media outlets including social media, video, and radio with the goal of reaching underserved populations (see “trusted messaging”).

  • Trauma-Informed Communication – Recognize that underserved individuals and communities experience trauma due to marginalization, inequity, and other structural factors. Avoid language and messages that reinforce these factors.

2 The definition of our historically and currently underserved communities include Oregonians who are: Native Americans, members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes, American Indians, Alaskan Natives; Black, Africans, African Americans; Latinx, Hispanic; Asian, Pacific Islanders; Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers; undocumented, DREAMers; Linguistically Diverse; LGBTQ+; Aging/older adults; Economically disadvantaged; Farmworkers, migrant workers; and Living in rural parts of the state. (See State of Oregon Equity Framework in COVID-19 Response and Recovery) 


State of Oregon Equity Framework in COVID-19 Response and Recovery

House Bill 3064(2019) Report by Justice Reinvestment Equity Advisory Committee

Dr. Erik Girvan: Understanding and Addressing Implicit Bias 2019 JRI Summit

The Non-Profit Association of Oregon Equity and Inclusion Lens Guide