(DISCUSSION/ACTION) Update activities to reduce Juvenile Hall population vis a vis JDAI.
The Chief concentrated on this for his report.
He presented this in the context of 8 core principles of the JDAI (collaboration, data driven, objective admission screening instruments, expediting case processing, continuum of detention alternatives, finding means of dealing with “special problem cases”, rigorous review of the facilities, and overarching, looking at racial disparities.)
The Chief reviewed a document passed out to the Commission at the meeting, which gave a snapshot of the population in the hall, broken out into various subsets (document attached). Briefly it showed increases in admissions (over 20%) during the same timeframe of last year and this. Also increases in daily population and length of stays. Felonies have risen, and the percentage of African Americans in juvenile hall also increased.
Comm Lingad Ricci asked how CBOs are being evaluated as to their effectiveness. The Chief said they are short of staff to do this now.
A speaker from the SF Muslim Community Ctr asked about the “disparity” between murder and guns mentioned in the report. The Chief explained that that report only show one charge (the more “significant” one).
Mike Texata, case manager at SFGH, formerly with BAG, asked if these youth were repeat offenders. The Chief said that 70% had at least one prior contact. This would imply that the Dept didn’t do a good job that first time to prevent a repeat.
James Bell, Exec Dir of W. Haywood Burns Institute, spoke about the impact of detention reform on juvenile hall numbers. The main focus of this reform is who is being brought to the front door, and who is being detained. The next level of inspection is how long do they stay. Regarding the Dept’s data, he said he’d focus on the reform aspects and not on how to reduce numbers of African Americans in detention. If reform is done correctly one of the inescapable results will be a reduction of their numbers. Detention appropriately used would ensure that only high-risk individuals are kept, while others are taken care of in the community in appropriate programs.
The barrier to such reform has been the fleeting cooperation and lack of consensus among partners (probation, courts, DA, PD, community)
Comm Queen asked how other jurisdiction have dealt with this lack of consensus and what would he recommend to move the agenda here. Bell said that there are only two ways to get reform. External “heat” from the community, or internal “epiphany” –a partner of “power” who just makes it happen. Then they have to agree to do business differently. This has not happened in SF, not everyone is on the same page with wanting to do detention reform, nor wanting to do business differently.
Minister Christopher Muhhamad said the Dept has an African American youth problem, a Latino youth problem and to a lesser extent an Asian Pacific Islander problem. He said that San Francisco has paid much lip service to the problem, but has not had the will to do something about it. He said that the African American Community Police Relations Board, 2 yrs ago visited and advocated for using LCRS and HVR as two preparatory/training sites for youth (they are under utilized now) He spoke about the success of a private Hunters Point school that sends youth to college. He said that the community is not able to absorb all the youth and properly monitor them. The facilities the Dept has can be used for this. They proposed that to the Mayor then, but the City did not respond. He called for a task force of African American community folks who can advise the Commission and Chief Probation Officer on how to work with all ethnicities in the community. He said that the City tends to study problems to death. They did that with the Community Relations Board plan for community policing, rejecting it and going to some outside consultant to study the problem.
He felt that the City wasn’t sincere in wanting to help African Americans.
Comm Lingad Ricci emphasized that our target is youth and not just one or another ethnic group.
Comm Fetiçō commented that the Commission is responsible for the Dept’s policies, but that everyone was responsible for the teaching of the youth in the community, through mentoring or good community services.