Tag Archives: Fariborz Pakseresh

Making right from wrong: Oregon Youth Authority

By Amanda Waldroupe, Staff Writer

In small, dormitory-like facilities across Oregon, the Oregon Youth Authority, or OYA, has direct custody of approximately 750 youth between the ages of 12 and 25, and supervises an additional 1,000 youth on parole and probation in their communities. As the state agency in charge of the state’s juvenile justice system, OYA is the gatekeeper for thousands of troubled  and disadvantaged young adults each year, and its new director, Fariborz Pakseresht, oversees it all.

Pakseresht first started working for the authority in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for the Department of Human Services and the Department of Administrative Services in a variety of leadership and administrative roles.

Pakseresht has developed a reputation for promoting government efficiency and transparency. He is also a member of the powerful Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB), a group that decide the health plans for Oregon’s state employees.

Parseresht can talk numbers and data in the same breath that he talks about the stunning transformations he sees youth make while they are in the OYA’s custody. “Part of what creates an anchor for me in this organization is hearing the stories of youth who have made transformation in their lives,” he says.

Amanda Waldroupe: What causes youth to enter the corrections system?

Fariborz Pakseresht: You can look at the causes, and you can look at the symptoms. Clearly, the cause of them entering the system is a crime they have committed. If you dig deeper through the roots of those causes, some disturbing statistics emerge. Most of them are coming from families with drug and alcohol issues. A large majority — 74 percent of females and 62 percent of males — have been diagnosed with mental health disorders. Many are victims of sexual abuse — 40 percent of females—and in many cases, by their own family members. Sixteen percent of females and 12 percent of males are already the biological parent of a child. None of these are excuses for committing the crimes they have committed. But it is a point to be aware that many of these youth … were victims, who in the process created their own victims. Continue reading