May 6, 2014 JDAI/DMC Committee Meeting Minutes

I. Call to Order

Meeting called to order at 9:33am.

II. Roll Call

Chairmen Rick Velasquez and Esther Franco-Payne. Commissioners Rodney Ahitow, Michael Rodriguez and IJJC Chairman George Timberlake. Quorum established at 10:12am. Guests: Erica Hughes, Susan Witkin, Marion Sleet, Miquel Lewis, Lanetta Haynes-Turner, Kanako Ishida, Henrika McCoy, Kathleen Bankhead, Mariame Kaba, Margo Roethlisberger. Staff: Rob Vickery, Julie Stremlau, Karima Douglas, Jeff Bradley and Monica Kelley.

III. Approval of Minutes

Commissioner Mike Rodriguez motioned to approve the minutes. Commissioner Franco-Payne seconded. March Minutes approved.

IV. Chair’s Comments

Chairman Velasquez recommended using the time for DMC focus. Commissioner Franco-Payne addressed the group. See discussion below under A- i. and ii.

V. Detention & DMC Committee Structure and Development

The DMC Committee will continue to meet with the JDAI Committee but will also conduct other meetings with key stakeholders on a monthly basis. Schedule to follow. IJJC Chairman Timberlake will talk with current Commissioners and Committee Chairmen about restructuring of DMC Committee.

VI. Detention/Detention Alternatives

A. Workplan review

No review at this time.

B. Updates on action steps: IPCSA Partnership, Outreach on DSO Violations

Rob Vickery and Ron Smith discussed the handful of counties with higher numbers of DSO violations and the need to do additional outreach to these counties. In terms of the Detention Self Assessment project, we are on track for participation from Peoria and St. Clair. A team will attend training and then complete the self-assessment. IPCSA can be a strong partner.

C. New Opportunities: Detention Transportation Study; AECF Deep End Initiative

The Commission is still waiting on pending legislation for the Transportation Study. There was legislation to permit detention hearings via video conference, driven by the cost of transportation. This has been used in adult court, but there have also been legal challenges in various places across the country. The General Assembly has recommended the IJJC conduct a study on Detention and Transportation, due March 2015. Jeff Bradley reported that Casey and JDAI moving to work on the “deep end” of the system (like Redeploy) and put an RFP out. We applied, but it became clear they want to fund an individual county instead of through a statewide organization like the IJJC.  Reducing deep end placements requires comprehensive reform. It means identifying the key drivers of out-of-home placement and opportunities for change in policy, practice and programming, and then planning and implementing those changes. No formal strategies set, at this time.

D. Compliance Monitoring

Ron Smith explained the process and how Illinois remains in compliance with OJJDP guidelines.


A. Creating a New Strategic Direction

  1. Review of DMC Assessment key findings and workplan
    Karima Douglas, DMC Coordinator, explained that we are moving to the next phase. We will be addressing concerns and issues.
  2. Discussion

a. What are the key issues underlying the DMC problem?

Commissioner Franco-Payne asked the group to share their comments on what they desire to accomplish with DMC. The group discussed their concerns and their overall goals. They discussed community awareness, law enforcement, the school to prison pipeline, mental health services, data, social inequities in relation to public health, and public awareness and messaging.  Many members of the group expressed the need for community engagement. Kathy Bankhead stated how we must ask the question “How do white communities keep their kids out of the system? Why can’t we do the same in minority communities?” Susan Witkin explained that many judges were involved in trainings, etc. Found many counties with very active juvenile justice councils.  The school to prison pipeline is evident in the data. Disproportionate minority contact also happens in a school district’s punitive system. Mariame Kaba stated that here will be Summits in Chicago regarding the school to prison pipeline.  It is apparent that law enforcement and educators do not know about DMC.  It is difficult to determine how this occurs when talking about the pipeline when they don’t really understand what they should be doing. Some people are unaware of the alternatives, which results in constantly giving children harsh punishments. It is necessary for everyone to be educated on DMC. Encourage a training that teaches officers what is appropriate for an arrest.  Mental health awareness and accessibility must be addressed. African-American children are less likely to be referred to mental health services. The current system is not designed to give adequate, if any, mental health services. The State has lost prevention and early intervention programs. Need to create strategies that make services available at the first stage of arrests. When a mental health episode occurs in schools, many educators and some administrators do not know how to respond. School personnel need to be better educated on mental health issues. It is also necessary to equip schools to incorporate mental health services.  We are still unable to collect all of the necessary data. It is difficult to compare data without specific transfer and diversion data, which makes it much more difficult to understand why and how a disproportionate amount of African-American children are transferred. At times, disparities within the system are greater than the data shows. For example, Hispanics are sometimes included as white if ethnicities are not an option for the person who is encoding it. We also must keep the data in context.  Erica Hughes added that the ethnic population is small in some counties so the population has to be considered.  Commissioner Franco-Payne added that 77% of youth of color have major issues with DMC in the Chicago area. Commissioner Franco-Payne suggested using Redeploy as a model. Local networks are helpful with trainings, etc.  Many group members believe it is necessary to talk about race and racism with DMC. Chairman Timberlake and Mariame Kaba believe it is unlikely to be able to train everyone out of racism. What people can do, however, is educate themselves on how racism is related to and a product of legitimate power (institutionalized racism).  One final, lingering question for the Committee is “how do we incentivize reduction of DMC? How do we make that a goal for everyone?” 

b. How does this committee classify action around these issues?
Commissioner Franco-Payne summarized the discussion and stated we would be better equipped to decide on next action steps at the next meeting. Data, Mental Health, Training, Community Awareness and Community Actions were noted as key areas of focus. She also stated the Committee’s decision to transition from DMC to RED (Racial Ethnic Disparity).  She asked the group to contact her or other members to share any feedback.

B. Project Updates

  1. DMC Data Collection
    Commissioner Franco-Payne asked about the large amount of arrest data. Susan Witkin will send her information out to the group. Karima Douglas stated how two-thirds of the counties the Committee reached out to have provided several decision points of data. In the future, the Committee plans to find other strategies of how to reach out and get more transfer and diversion data that is difficult to attain.
  2. “CASP”
    We have identified two counties for the CASP project funding: Peoria and Macon counties. Representatives from each county’s juvenile justice council have been notified and are in the process of securing coordinators that will dedicate time to DMC strategic planning.
  3. Law Enforcement/YMCA Project
    In the beginning of the summer, the program will primarily focus on peace circles and a dialogue between youth and police officers. Later, the program will do more in regards to community engagement and cafe-style activities. The program is currently located in three police districts that are on the south and west sides of Chicago.
  4. DMC Communications
    No updates.
  5. Youth Advisory Board Update
    YAB has taken many strides within the last few months. A few weeks ago, they had a retreat that was both successful and thought-provoking (Karima gave a synopsis of the trip.) They plan to hire consultants to help run the board. Also, the board would like to have a mini planning and grants component to the organization.

VIII. New Business

Jeff Bradley gave an overview of this Portland model site visit. It changed minds of many stakeholders. He believes the site visit should be a priority on an annual basis for Illinois. Jeff will work with the sites to communicate what they have learned to share with the Committee.

IX. Next Meeting

July 21st. There is discussion of whether or not the Committee will start meeting monthly, as opposed to every two months.

X. Adjourn

Commissioner Franco-Payne motioned to adjourn. Chairman Velasquez seconded. Meeting adjourned at 11:28am.