'Restorative justice' program could launch community service

Since returning to Forest Grove, Cinthya Garcia (Cisneros) has checked in with Washington County probation officers but is mostly lying low as she adjusts to her freedom.

Garcia, 19, was released from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Tacoma Thursday, Aug. 14, after an immigration judge dismissed the case against her.

Garcia’s father notified friends and supporters of her return to Oregon and expressed her gratitude for their help but also said she’d rather not talk to or see anyone for a while.

According to Probation and Parole Services Supervisor Joe Simich, Garcia visited the Probation Department Monday, Aug. 18, and spoke with an officer about the intake process related to the three years of probation and 250 hours of community service she has been sentenced to serve for her two class B felony convictions on hit-and-run charges.

The convictions stemmed from a car crash last October that killed two young Forest Grove sisters.

Garcia has also met with her specific probation officer, Jaree Spatz, who said she will try to complete a detailed, in-depth “needs assessment” for Garcia within a month.

The assessment considers addiction issues, criminal history, community-support networks and more, Simich said.

In addition, he said, “Jaree will talk to her about how and where she can do her community service ... If you did something that resulted in someone’s death, maybe there’s a nonprofit that will make more of a deal of that.”

At Garcia’s sentencing hearing, Bridget Cooke, the executive director of Adelante Mujeres, a Forest Grove-based nonprofit, offered to oversee a “restorative justice” program that would help Garcia accept full responsibility for the consequences of her actions, as well as talk to other youth about her experience.

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