Colette S. Peters, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC), announced the appointment of Nichole Brown as the Superintendent of Columbia River Correctional Institution (CRCI) in Portland and the South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) in Tillamook. The appointment is effective on August 1.
“When asked to reflect on what it means to be the first African American woman to run a prison in the State of Oregon, I must acknowledge law enforcement and the African American community, traditionally, have not always had a symbiotic relationship,” said Brown in a press release. “Me decision to apply for the position was easy, as I know the leadership of the agency has made a commitment to diversify the workforce with highly trained staff and to normalize and humanize the corrections setting. I bring a diverse perspective – not only in ethnicity and culture – but diversity of opinion, thoughts, and abilities.”
Brown started her career in 1997 at the Powder River Correctional Facility in the Inmate Work Programs section. From 2004 to 2012, she served as the Workforce Development Administrator responsible for Education Training and Alcohol and Drug Treatment programs. Brown currently oversees the Programs and Social Support Services Unit within the Correctional Services Division which includes Inmate Services, Volunteer Services, Victim Services, and Family Advocacy.
“Nichole is a strong-minded thoughtful leader with heart and passion for our work, and I am confident that she will serve our agency well in her new role,” said Director Peters. “She brings a love of people, meaningful community partnerships, and a fundamental belief that people can change when given the opportunity and motivation. As the first woman director of ODOC, I am proud to have the first African American woman selected as Superintendent on my watch.”
CRCI is a minimum-security prison that houses approximately 595 adults in custody who are within four years of release. Located in the largest metropolitan area of the state, this facility is focused on cognitive programming, work programs, and preparing for return to the community. CRCI is home to a 50-bed cognitive restructuring Alternative Incarceration Program (AIP). Individuals who successfully complete this 180-day-in-prison program are released to the community for a 90-day transitional leave period.
SFFC is a minimum-security work camp that houses approximately 200 adults in custody who are within four years of release. Part of SFFC’s mission is to supply a ready work force to combat forest or wild fires throughout the state. Crews provide critical support for statewide fire operations, recreation, and reforestation; as well as provide support for special projects such as sign making, metal fabrication, and tool or equipment repair. It is located 28 miles east of Tillamook, just off of Highway 6 along the Wilson River in the Tillamook Forest.