Disproportionate Minority Confinement Committee of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council meeting
July 25, 2002 - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Drake University Resource Center
Des Moines, Iowa

The Disproportionate Minority Confinement committee met Thursday, July 25, 2002 at the Drake University Resource Center in Des Moines.

Members present were: Marvin Spencer, presiding; Devon Binion, John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, Bob Greenlee, Denise Hotopp, Miriam Landsman (for Brad Richardson), Sara Petersen, Sarah Richardson, Will Tucker (for Kim Cheeks), Lori Rinehart, Carl Smith, Chris Taylor, Jerry Young Bear. Staff members present: Eric Sage, Amy Croll, Janet Clayton, Scott Musel.

Guests were: Brian Boyer from Polk County Detention Center, Kile Scharf, Polk County Decat, Pat Parker, consultant to Polk County for the Resource Center Grant, Sarah Nash from the University of Iowa National Resource Center, Ina Bushyhead, Vernon Johnson from PACE, Tony Grasso from Pace.

Spencer asked all present to introduce themselves and identify their affiliation. Summary of the last meeting was approved by motion of Rinehart, second by Petersen.

Sage reported on new-member recruitment and noted that Ruth White, division administrator for the division of Status of African Americans will be joining our meetings.

Denise Hotopp, Polk County Decat Coordinator, gave an overview of a Polk County Diversion project funded by a grant from CJJP. She introduced Brian Boyer, Tony Grasso attending for Vernon Johnson until his arrival, and Kile -Scharf.

Her summary contained some initiatives that have been tried in the past, some DMC initiatives for which Polk County is currently seeking funding and this grant on which she is reporting today. The DMC Task Force has not yet been formed. By the end of the first quarter the task force will be in place.

The Detention Review Team is being established which will meet on a weekly basis. The factors to be considered for review are, but not limited to: the system, the child's education, socio-economic group and family. The Detention Review Team will consider barriers to alternatives to detention, expedient resolution of those barriers, analysis of the process, and decision making with the goal of establishing a model. A clear decision-making process is being sought.

Hotopp passed around the results of Polk County's Aftercare Study of Substance Abuse.

Pat Parker suggested that any measurement instrument should include resiliency factors, strengths and resources. When this is done the factors even out. She also noted that the child's "community" has a role to play - where will the child be living if sent back to the environment from which it came.

Sage asked when the Detention Review Team will conduct its review…at intake or after the youth is in detention.

Greenlee asked if law enforcement would be a part of the review team. Hotopp responded that yes, law enforcement would be included as that is often the first meeting the child has with the system...with the police officer who picks him/her up.

Hotopp reviewed detention alternatives. The first, Youth Homes of Mid America In-home Monitoring Placement and Community Tracking, a program already in existence. Cuts in funding reduced this program. This will allow five minority youth to participate. This grant will allow for about 20 youth to be included in the program. The second is the PACE Technical Violators Program which is designed to serve youth on probation who might have performed a minor violation of their probation and who may have been sent to detention. A service project and written reports on the infraction are a part of the program while housed on weekends at Camp Dodge and include evening programs. The grant will help probation violators avoid detention. Spencer asked about available data showing a decrease in the number of youth placed in detention as a result of this program.

Hotopp then summed up the county's accomplishments to date.

Nash reported on the DMC conference to be conducted November 7 and 8, 2002 at Adventureland Inn by the University of Iowa National Resource Center. Parker suggested the title of: The First Annual DMC Conference - Investing in Our Children, Investing in our Future. There will be a $50 fee. Some members were concerned that DHS, Decat and Juvenile Court people would be unable to attend because of the fee, plus other expenses. A scholarship process was discussed. It was also suggested that preference be given to those sites designated as receiving technical assistance.

Resource Center Technical Assistance to six sites:

Technical Assistance is up and running at most of the sites. Chaisson-Cardenas is serving Scott County and has met with several groups in Scott County. One human advocacy group, interfaith groups - and ORRAJJS has asked for training on how to bring community people and disenfranchised people who would be excluded from this process to the table.

Ed Barnes is working with Black Hawk County Decat Coordinator, Janet Lyons.

Humboldt Cluster does not want to begin until fall 2002.

Nash announced the Resource Center newsletter "Prevention Report" will feature the DMC website.

Sage asked the Resource Center if there was a will in the state to decrease minority overrepresentation. The Resource Center felt that yes, there was in parts of the state. Most Iowans want to be responsible.

Nash announced that a National DMC Training Conference would be held this fall in Florida and Judge Sylvia Lewis announced that the Juvenile Court Judges would have a meeting in December.

The next JJAC DMC meeting is September 25, 2002 at 10 a.m. at the Drake Resource Center. This gathering will be after the Coalition for Juvenile Justice meeting in Atlanta Georgia on DMC from September 18 to 21, 2002. Marvin Spencer and Lori Rinehart will attend from the Council and this committee.

Meeting adjourned.

Janet Clayton,
Recording Secretary

Summary approved as amended 9/25/02.