Disproportionate Minority Confinement Committee meeting
November 20, 2002 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Drake University Resource Center

The Disproportionate Minority Confinement Committee of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council met November 20, 2002 at the Drake University Resource Center at 10 a.m. Chairman Leiber asked each member to introduce himself/herself. Members present: Mike Leiber, presiding; Allison Fleming, Robert Greenlee, Denise Hotopp, Stephan Pearson, Sara Petersen, Brad Richardson, Lori Rinehart, Elizabeth Salinas-Newby, Carl Smith, Marvin Spencer, John Wauters, Ruth White Members absent: John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, Kim Cheeks, Warren Morrow, Devon Binion, Miguel Trevino, Jerry Young Bear. Staff present: Dave Kuker, Scott Musel, Eric Sage, Janet Clayton.

The summary of the September 25, 2002 meeting was approved as corrected. Let the summary show that Marvin Spencer was present at that meeting.

New Member Recruitment

The committee welcomed as a new member John Wauters, Chief Juvenile Court Officer from the Eighth Judicial District in Iowa. Discussion centered around possible other people to be invited to serve on this committee – a juvenile court judge, public school representatives, law enforcement representatives, someone from a county attorney’s office. Salinas-Newby will suggest names from Des Moines Public Schools and the Storm Lake and Columbus Junction areas, Marshalltown and Perry. Kuker will talk with White about adding a person from Cedar Rapids. Leiber will invite Michael Blackwell director of the multi-cultural center on the U.N.I. campus who has many links in the community. Kuker will approach the sheriffs and deputies organizations, DHS, the State Court Administrator’s Office, the State Association of Counties, as well as PATC.
Resource Center – DMC Conference

Richardson reported that 225 people attended the first DMC Conference. He noted conclusions drawn from their survey of the attendees. Peer-to-Peer results will go up on the website as well as other information. Among the highlights of discussions with participants was the need for more recent data on DMC in their areas as well as information and education.

Discussion among committee centered on such items as notification of press of the event, plans for next year, better media exposure, updated data. Richardson suggested perhaps a post conference press update. Possibilities for press update could include what people were talking about at the conference, need for some more numbers. Pearson reported Sioux City people are suggesting a one-day conference in Sioux City to address issues in their area. Leiber also mentioned the possibility of regional conferences to coincide with a grassroots approach.

Spencer encouraged the committee to build on a statewide effort again next year. Fleming agreed that a statewide effort was in order perhaps with breakout sessions from specific areas of the state with data just from that area. Breakout sessions to include presentations by teams in each area to present what’s going on in each region which falls in line with the Resource Center’s technical assistance to the six communities. Sage suggested the message is not out there yet. It needs to be told and the message out there several times. Sage noted the people there represented a wide variety of professions.

Richardson suggested next year’s conference could highlight the work being done now in the six Iowa communities first – outcomes – then break out into sessions to share information from communities. The breakout sessions could speak directly to the issues raised in communities and some mentioned today as well as those that will emerge. The keynote speaker’s message could be not at the very beginning of the conference. Richardson asked for a committee to begin now. Leiber asked for, at the next meeting, volunteers to serve on a subcommittee. He suggested program, media, recruitment for the conference. Richardson will bring list of categories that need to be addressed so a subcommittee can be identified to keep the momentum going. Leiber suggested the conference be open to Latinos and Native Americans in addition to African Americans. Rinehart felt there wasn’t enough focus on girls.

Smith asked for other news around DMC at the Conference. Fleming reported the Act had just been signed but no rules or regulations had been written. Musel noted that now the Act addresses not only confinement, but it’s now DMC from the point of contact. Leiber was concerned that going to contact might push system issues aside and go back to causes of delinquency. He tells groups that the whole issue of DMC is multi-pronged. DMC Coordinators would like to be notified of events. Richardson noted that a list of DMC coordinators from OJJDP is on the Resource Center bulletin Board. Eve Munson from the Coalition will work with DMC Coordinators.

Discussion then centered on White’s comment about preventing confinement. She suggested structuring something that talks about how to get to children before they are absolutely confined.

Greenlee asked how youth get into a detention center. Wauters noted that throughout the state the decision to detain typically is law enforcement contacting the juvenile court officer. In some instances the judge wants to be notified. He indicated they use the criteria reflected in the Code. There was discussion as well regarding the centralized intake in Polk County and Sioux City. It was indicated that in the sixth district, law enforcement will pick up a kid and take them to detention. .

Petersen noted that some conference attendees mentioned that they don’t need a new risk assessment, they already have two or three methods of criteria but what they weren’t hearing is that there is unintended bias that comes in to those decisions.

Pearson noted that at the conference a lot of people said they had to rethink how they did things and how they were looking at this after this conference. He suggested the need for education and an update on what is going on. There are a lot of people who need to rethink why they are placing one child one place and the other in another place.

Wauters reported that a Juvenile Court Services Casework Requirements Committee is trying to tighten up the intake and decision-making at detention rather than just “are they a risk” to run or endanger themselves or others. The committee is trying to get a standard practice throughout the state which will give definite parameters at that very important point of intake for kids coming in the system. They will look at alternatives to detention. A report will be submitted to the Supreme Court next May.

Leiber reviewed accomplishments for the past year. Major activities included recruitment of new members, funding of diversion effort, DMC resource center. Those will continue to take on emphasis for this committee.

Other issues to consider to highlight for future meetings:

Leiber suggested media education in the manner of last year’s op-eds. The question of timing for an op-ed was discussed. Salinas-Newby noted that Latino Heritage month is September 15 to October 15 also Latino Heritage Festival comes up in May. Leiber noted the possibility here to link with other groups and activities. Latino Leadership Conference will come in November, 2003.

Leiber asked if February would be a good time to do a release. An ongoing workgroup on public awareness subcommittee was suggested. Fleming suggested that somebody go meet with the editorial board at the Register. Latino newspapers are all over the state as well as an African-American newspaper.

Leiber asked for volunteers to serve on public awareness and media subcommittee. Fleming was asked to serve on the committee. Leiber and White will take lead with Kuker and Richardson on an op-ed piece. The copy will be shared with the DMC committee and distributed under the name of a person from the local community. This will be an agenda item for next meeting and a list of committee members. Kuker noted that in November the Dept. of Education releases a report on how children are doing in school. We could report on children of color from that report.

Agenda item: Resource paper or information.

Agenda item: How to handle a contact from the local media. Bob Greenlee.

Agenda item: Reaching Latinos.

Agenda item: Updated statistics. Leiber asked if the assessment, which was done in the 1993 with data from 1989 and 1990, should be updated. Ours is 10 years old. Should an updated assessment be made? Data is still being collected from Black Hawk County through 2000 or 2001. One more county may be need to be reviewed.

The issue of mental health was suggested. Sage reviewed the activities of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council’s mental health issues subcommittee. The subcommittee does not exist to change public policy but to help staff at detention centers be better able to address the issue when it arises.

Agenda item: Targeting agencies/groups to address them for an hour or two to create awareness. Police, judges.

Three Year Plan

Kuker indicated the next JJDP Act formula grant three-year plan will be submitted in March, 2003. The Council identified a number of issue areas on which to focus. These will become sections of the new plan. The JJAC Council asks the DMC Committee to help with the DMC section of the three year plan. Kuker asked for the committee’s input on the contents of this section. Kuker was instructed to prepare a draft for the January meeting of the discussion above. He encouraged members to review the draft and call Dave with suggestions. DMC remains the top priority of the Council. Petersen noted that future review of the data available would be good to include as part of that section. Overall need for information was noted at the DMC Conference also. Mention is made in the plan that the committee meets regularly about every 1 ½ to 2 months. The goal is to bring people from many communities with different occupations and 12 minority persons in a group of 20.

Polk County DMC Diversion Project

Kile Scharf gave an update of activities in Polk County which occurred after the October 1 quarterly report due date. A DMC advisory group has been formed which will develop policy and systemic changes which will focus on detention reform. The steering committee functions as the detention review team. Randy Thomas, technical assistant, suggested Polk County look at detention, intake, risk assessment where attention is focused now. He also recommended Polk County try to refrain from considering detention as the locked building to place kids but see it as a possible whole continuum of services. The steering committee is beginning to review what some of those alternatives to detention might be in Polk County. Focus of the original diversion was originally on kids who had been detained. Polk County now knows the need to focus on diverting them; otherwise, their stay is only shortened but not reducing detention numbers. Electronic monitoring program still exists but additionally the other provider will tailor more services to the front end. Many issues involved about who will make decisions not to detain and just release back into the community with services. Efforts are being made to structure how the program will work with community based services. Kids could go to PACE from 4 to 10 p.m. during the week and all day Saturday. Plus PACE will do tracking and monitoring. Focus right now is comfortable with new process and safety of community is maintained by releasing before any detention. Scharf reported that a continuum of detention alternatives will be establishment of foster care for delinquents. The review team reports that many kids are detained because they can’t go home again. They would not need to be at the detention center, it’s just that there is nowhere else to send them. That’s the safest place for them and safest for everybody else. Kentucky has successful programs for providing specialized foster care for delinquent kids. The Polk County decat will put additional JAIBG dollars into these foster homes.

Hotopp noted that many Polk County kids are sent to detention in Chariton which presents problems with extra expenditures, transportation, not being close to family, etc. If numbers were cut to eliminate this practice, much money would be saved.

Scharf reported that Polk County met with Leiber to discuss data collection. He will help with data collection. A new intake form has been developed for this project. This applies to all kids, not just those detained. Much data is coming in. Review team continues to meet. It is starting to impact what’s going on with delinquents with JCOs. It’s impacting JCOs and judges to review our recommendations.

Hotopp noted that Polk County continues to work to engage law enforcement in discussions. Pearson suggested meeting at the law enforcement station. Latino Affairs offered to make a contact too. Scharf indicated school resource officers have been invited as 80% of referrals come from SROs.

Hotopp stated that a task force of community leaders to serve as advisors to several grants, including this one, has been formed. A federal grant has been received that will plan wrap-around types of service for African-American adolescents with substance abuse and mental health problems. They will be connected with a re-entry grant, a state corrections grant with Polk County as the site for services. It will include services to kids returning from the State Training School and Toledo Juvenile Home. Efforts will begin the day they go into either state school with minority kids among them.

Leiber announced that Hawkeye Community College has five diversity conferences. One was just completed. He encouraged exposure of our conference at these conferences. Michael Blackwell would be the contact.

Next meeting is January 15, 2003 at the Drake Resource Center, 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.