How Portland Parole Officers Serve as Role Models to Gang Members


Four parole officers supervise 250 gang members on parole or probation in Portland’s Multnomah County, reports The Oregonian. It’s an impossible job to track what each offender is up to every minute of the day. With seven gang-related homicides in Portland so far this year and bullets flying almost every night, the parole officers are teaming up with police, prosecutors and gang outreach workers to do everything they can to cool down the streets. To the people on their caseload, parole officers are constantly drumming in the message of making good choices, staying safe and out of trouble.

The average gang offender will spend three years under county supervision, and almost a third of them will be rearrested during that time. Carl Green, 40, has been a parole officer for 15 years and is starting to see third- and fourth-generation gang members. He doubts that many of them had a family like his: a career military father and a stay-at-home mother who made sure he was on track through college. Green, who is part African American and part Korean, says he and parole officer Travis Gamble know they’re among the few positive black male role models many of the gang offenders have encountered. “We try to help show them they have the ability to do something else in life,” Green says. “You learn the true meaning of patience.”

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