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Meeting Information


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The minutes of this meeting set forth all actions taken by the Commission on the matters stated, but not necessarily the chronological sequence in which the matters were taken up

1. (ACTION) Roll Call
The meeting was called to order by Pres. Hale at 6:00 pm. Comms. Dupre, Aramburo, Chuck, Grossman were present at the gavel. Comm. Richard arrived at 7:00 pm.
2. (ACTION) Review and approval of July 25, 2001 meeting minutes
The minutes were approved as written.
3. (DISCUSSION) Chief Probation Officer’s Report
a. Status Report on Juvenile Hall Replacement Project
Replacement mural project (D. Hale)
Chis Bigelow reported that they still are planning for construction to start March or April of 2002. The arts project people have been holding meetings with youth in the hall to plan the arts project for the hall. Themes for the artwork relate to trees, branches, transformation.
Chris Bigelow asked about the replacement mural issue, Comm. Hale explained that he had been in contact with the artist of the mural that is currently on the side of the gym, and that she should be brought into the loop of discussions regarding the arts projects for the new facilities because by case law, she has a right to the consideration of replacing her soon to be lost artwork. C. Bigelow said he will keep in touch with her in regards this.
b. Trends/Emerging Issues/Upcoming Events
No report on this item.
4. (ACTION) Committee Assignments for Commissioners
Comm. Hale appointed Comm Richard to the Program Committee, and Comm. Dupré to the Finance Committee. He mentioned that he was going to delay a decision to create an Ad Hoc committee to address the issue of pending legislation in the Bd of Supervisors.
5. (ACTION) Consideration of recommendation by Program Committee for continuation of contract from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002 with the American Justice Institute for PRIDE system, in the amount of $375,000
Comm. Dupré moved to approve the contract, with conditions. Comm. Grossman recounted the conditions: PrIDE report to the Committee every month for the first 6 mos, there be a first report and a demonstration of deliverables by the next Committee mtg, and an estimate of costs of integrating it and maintaining it within the Dept’s IS system. Motion was seconded.
Comm. Arámburo expressed her concerns with the contract. She reviewed the fiscal responsibilities of the Commission, especially with reference to TANF funds. To date there has been $654,000 given to this contractor, and with this contract, that would be a million (one tenth of the total TANF funding). The issues are: how much questioning does the Commission have to do in order to get at the facts. It was a ’cat and mouse’ game where if the question wasn’t ’just right,’ a full response wasn’t given. There were several red flags: importance of empirical data, what kinds of information we need to make responsible decisions involving detention. In these two aspects, Comm. Arámburo wasn’t sure what this project will produce. Her understanding is that it would give outcome information on programs funded through the Dept. and will be able to determine how to modify or change programs during the six month to a year that they are funded. Also to do aggregate analysis that would facilitate policy and program development, also to leverage funding. The Philadelphia model (upon which this is based) since 1994, in a recent report, indicated that their institutional placements have increased in the past 6 yrs. So, if their system is supposed to be giving empirical data to their department so they could make better policy decisions in programs, it doesn’t seem to be working. The cost for their system is also daunting, $4 million to get it up and $854,000 annual maintenance fee (including a 45% indirect cost charge). The Commissioner questioned if this is a wise use of TANF funds, given the short window before its sunset. The Commissoner had questions about the vendor also, given their inability to answer how they much they have spent to date. They were further asked what it would cost to bring this program "live," to finally get it to work, and they could not answer that. The Commissioner was not convinced this project will achieve what its stated purposes are. And despite the Chief saying that it would ultimately be brought in-house, without a concrete estimate of how much it would cost to do this, that isn’t satisfactory for her to agree to this expenditure.
The process: this is a sole source contract, and maybe that leads to the lack of openness for providing information (referring to the ’cat and mouse dance’ duing question and answer sessions). Maybe we need an open bidding process which encourages full disclosure.
As the Chair of the Committee, she could not vote for this expenditure in light of their inability to provide satisfactory answers to all the questions.
Comm. Hale appreciated the critical inspection given to this contract. This should be done with all contracts if questions exist. He likened this contract’s experience of not having any results after 3 yrs, to Santa Cruz’s experience in their detention reform efforts (they didn’t show any results for 18 mos to 2 yrs). He said he relies on the staff to make the right decisions. He supports the motion.
Comm. Chuck acknowledged Comm. Arámburo’s compelling and thoughtful argument. He said that while there has to be an element of trust, the Commission cannot just stop at the vote. He was encouraged that this project might be able to leverage future funds for the Dept.
Comm. Grossman also has concerns but appreciated the offer to include conditions in the motion for approval.
Comm. Dupré acknowledged Comm. Arámburo’s issues, and said that the onus is now on staff to satisfy all the concerns of the Commission. He encouraged everyone to attend the next Program Committee meeting to hear the report.
The question was called, and upon voice vote, the motion passed 5-1, with Comm. Aramburo voting nay.
6. (DISCUSSION/ACTION) Briefing by Youth Law Center on over population and disproportionate minority confinement at SF Juvenile Hall (James Bell); Briefing on Annie E Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in SF (Bart Lubow); possible recommendations for follow up.
Bell commented that SF Juvenile Hall’s population is reaching 80% youth of color., and they come from 5 neighborhoods. He stated that the report he did does not explain why there is disproportionality, just that there is. He handed out a PowerPoint presentation (on paper) that he normally gives to jurisdictions looking at their detention problems, to the Commission.
Pertinent points: disproportionality is supported by vested interests.
He introduced CPO John Rhoads (Santa Cruz) as a model of how the problem is attacked.
A series of vested interests need to cooperate to address the problem; community groups, young people, judges, politicians, police, sheriff, advocates. Schools were mentioned but no faith was shown that they would actively participate.
In order to effectively reduce disproportionality, there needs to be good programs in the community that really serves them.
Comm. Arámburo asked what the problem with the risk assessment instrument was. Is it not being utilized, not being used effectively, problem with supervision? Can you describe the instrument andwhat can be done with it.
Bell: regarding the risk assessment instrument, he described what two other jurisdictions did with their instruments. They reviewed it to make it race neutral. Looked to see what impact the point system had on communities of color.
Look at contacts with the cops, what kinds of services are available in the community. When they get into detention, what decisions are being made by judges, prosecuters and public defenders which widely affect kids of color.
Question: how does class play out in SF vs. color. Bell said that they didn’t look at that aspect, just the neighborhoods. They looked at the numbers and reached conclusions about what should be done. They did not look at the "why".
Question: does the number of contacts affect the police’s practice (ie. if a kid has a long contact sheet, is it more likely the police will arrest).
Answer: for the risk assessment instrument, this item needs to be race conscious, so the proper points can be assigned it.
Bell noted that the population in SF Juvenile Hall is not overly represented by Latinos. Only African American.
African American kids make up 85% of those in foster care.
Question: is there a way to create community based alternatives for kids with mental health issues.
Question: the software programs used by those other jurisdictions; do they just monitor detention issues or are they used for case management, and give outcome measures.
Bart Lubow: the situation faced by SF in regards to mental health is common throughout the nation. He referenced John Rhoads for specifics on their system of care, which tries to keep kids from being dumped into juvenile hall because no other agency/service wants to deal with them.
He mentioned the example of Albuquerque, NM, where they had 2 entire units set aside for mental health related kids. After working with them, this situation is now resolved.
Lubow introduced himself and the Annie Casey Foundation, and mentioned the Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative’s history, vis a vis the social landscape which actually showed an increase (nationally) in juvenile detention over the past 7 yrs (when they began the initiative, 6 out of 10 kids -arrested-- were detained in facilities which exceeded their capacities, and now 75% are are in such facilities).
Many of the sites in the Casey Initiative showed great improvement in various aspects of juvenile justice.
He mentioned a major confab on detention alternatives to be held in Portland next month.
He stated that a month ago Chief Williams asked if he (Lubow) would come and discuss the potential of SF being a replication site for the Foundation’s Initiative.
He said that what they (the Foundation) intend to do is focus on some of the key issues made by the Youth Law Center report. They will use it to define some keys issues to investigate more deeply.
They will bring in practitioners from other jurisdictions, and colleagues of theirs, experts in policy and operations of juvenile justice, towork with a core group of stakeholders. He made a point that over detention in juvenile detention facilities is the cumulative effect of decisions made in a variety of positions in the juvenile justice system. Responsibility for this problem is broadly shared, and the solutions must be broadly shared.
They will facilitate the deliberations of the stakeholders. They will bring in data experts to assess what data capacities currently exist, what capacities need to be built, what sorts of routine reports ought to be generated so the system is held more accountable. He gave an example of having asked for information on a couple of aspects of the SF system and couldn’t get an answer from anyone. This reflects a system that is largely unaccountable. The point of this initiative isn’t to just bring the numbers detained down, but rather to figure out how to eliminate unecessary and inappropriate detention.
Comm. Hale asked, acknowledging that the process being initiated will not give immediate results, what will the Dept do in the interim to deal with the problems as they continue to come up.
Lubow responded that they will do rigorous inspections of the hall and to give feed back on areas which need improvement and help the Dept make adjustments. The other thing is to jump on the population management issues quickly. The YLC report provides some key aspects of current detention utilization for them to look a little deeper at for short term solutions.
Comm. Arámburo moved to approve the recommendations of the YLC report and urged the Dept to provide reasonable timelines to accomplish them. Bart Lubow added a friendly amendment that the Commission go on record urging the other stakeholders to join the Dept in this process and take responsibility and ownership for what happens out at Juvenile Hall.
Public Comments: Bruce Fisher of Youth Advocates supported this motion. He further suggested the Commission set a goal for reduction of disproportionality (ie. for a particular percentage of improvement in a year).
Jim Queen: spoke for the need to make this process a community driven process, including youth who are involved in the system.
A representative from CJCJ spoke in support of the Santa Cruz model and how J. Rhoads holds community meetings to hear from all who are concerned about operations there.
Alfredo Bojorquez reminded that POs need to be part of the process also; often being left out of such initiatives.
Judge Frank Orlando emphasized that decisions need to be driven by data. Subjective decision making is totally off the mark. He gave an example of how his own jurisdiction handled the problems of detention. He stated that it was imperative that certain ’vested’ interests give up some of their "control" in the best interests of getting better decisions from the group process.
Gary Bieringer said that it is critical to have the school district at the table.
Ntanya Lee (Coleman Advocates): expressed her skepticism, but hopefulness that this will not end up like all the previous attempts at reform, and asked that definite deadlines and milestones be set forth.
Mary Harris (Coleman Advocates) added to comments that there are major ’partners’ who are not in the room and need to be pulled into the discussion. Most of her comments were spoken from the back of the room and were not audibly picked up.
John Rhoads: there are short term things which can be done, but what really needs to be addressed are deep seated cultural practices that will require time to overcome. His own experience in Santa Cruz with the process showed no significant changes for 18 mos to 2 yrs into the activity.
He emphasized that this is a lifelong effort.
(Nicole) of the Youth Commission, wanted to emphasize that including youth in this process should be more than tokenism, and that appropriate accommodations be made to make it possible for them to participate.
Comm Richard said that it is important that when you call the community based agencies to the table, then they better really be working with youth. There are many who may say they are working with kids and don’t, and with the precious little money to go around, it’d behoove us all to assure they are used wisely.
Comm. Arámburo said that SF has a wealth of community based orgs, but we don’t have a clear vision to utilize them for an effective coordinated system of intervention and prevention.
Clarificaton about the wording of the motion was asked. The request for a report back in Oct. by the Chief was at the direction of the Commission and not a part of the original motion.
The question was called, and by roll call vote, passed 6-0.
7. (DISCUSSION) Sunshine & Brown Act overview (Deputy City Attorney Jackie Minor)
There was a short inservice by Deputy City Attorney Jackie Minor on this topic. Questions were answered sequentially and all were left with a clearer understanding of the Sunshine Ordinance and Brown Act.
8. (DISCUSSION) Public Comment on any matter within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Juvenile Probation Commission.
Three young ladies from the support group "Young Queens Rising" spoke about their activities and goals and asked the Commission for their support of those activities. They made a plea for a grant to support the work with girls. The Commission referred them to the Community Projects Division and Lonnie Holmes for assistance.
9. (DISCUSSION) Announcements, requests for future agenda items.
There was none.
10. (ACTION) Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 pm.