Ontario forum turns spotlight on system for criminally insane

From left: ProPublica Editor-in-Chief Stephen Engelberg, Enterprise Publisher Les Zaitz and Reporter Jayme Fraser answer questions about Oregon’s criminal insanity system. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

ONTARIO – Local residents and government officials agreed at a community forum last week: Oregon does not adequately help people with serious mental illness, particularly those entangled in the justice system. 

About two dozen people gathered at Four Rivers Cultural Center for the Thursday session, “The Consequences of a Sick System,” to hear the results of a months-long investigation by the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica, a national nonprofit investigative newsroom. The two newsrooms partnered to examine the state’s system for dealing with the criminally insane.

The reporting project, led by Enterprise reporter Jayme Fraser, was triggered by an incident about two years ago . . .