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Meeting Information


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Held at Ben Franklin Middle School  1430 Scott St. @ O'Farrell St   San Francisco, CA  94115


1.      (ACTION)  Roll Call

The meeting was called to order by Comm. Julian at 5:40 pm.  Comms. Shimko, Chuck, Dupre were present at the gavel.  Comms. Aramburo and Hale arrived at 6:03 pm.  Comm. Jackson-Drake was excused.

2.      (ACTION) Review of February 23,  2000  meeting  minutes       

The minutes were approved as written.

3.   (DISCUSSION)   Chief Probation Officer's Report:

      Chief Williams was out of town, so Assistant Chief Gwen Tucker made the report.

a.      Status reports

1.      SF Juvenile Probation Department support of Mayor's Summit for Women

The Dept will be sending 130 young ladies with chaperones to the summit. They will schedule a reception for these participants before the summit, to be held at City Hall.

2.      Ombudsman's report

Mr. Khalif referred to the one page summary sheet in the monthly report, on grievances.  There were no "serious" issues of violating detainees' rights (Title 15), more simply issues of "quality of life" such as food complaints, or other disgruntlements due to detainees' "picky-ness".  For the girls, issues regarding hygiene such as not having lotions are raised. There are two issues being investigated, regarding counselors not following scheduled activities. (It was referred to as "slowing down" the schedule). 

Question: Having been the ombudsman for this period, how would you assess things are going  Answer: slow going, some staff (especially senior staff) are slow in accepting the changes being implemented. On the whole it is coming along. 

Question: Do you work closely with Rev. Dunbar?  Answer:  No.

3.      Assignment of additional probation officers to Community Assessment & Referral Center

There will be a total of 4 probation officers on regular work schedules, so no overtime will be used.

b.     Highlights from last Commission meeting to present  (**Explanatory document: Feb. monthly report) 

1.   Employee recognition :   Rhonda Hutchings, PO

      ACPO Tucker read a letter of commendation to Rhonda Hutchings, from her supervisor, and also a letter of appreciation from her charge (a young lady), for going out of her way to help the youth continue in her programming (eg. replacing her stolen bicycle).  Tucker presented Hutchings with a framed certificate of acknowledgment and appreciation.

c.      Emerging Issues/Upcoming Events

1.      Youth Media Exchange Day :  Saturday, April 29, 2000, at Juvenile Hall

The correct name of the planned event is Youth Media Expo Day, and is being planned by the Pacific News Service/YO!/The Beat Within.  The purpose would be to hold an expo of available services that could benefit the kids in juvenile hall, as well as have a venue where kids in juvenile hall can exhibit the things they have done while in juvenile hall (whether they are art projects or other works).  They will have a performance and dinner in conjunction with this.

4.   (DISCUSSION) Impact of Prop. 21 on the Juvenile Probation Department operations

Speakers:  James Bell, Esq., Youth Law Center; Youth Commissioners: June Strohlin, Kareem Ervin; Jessica Smith.

Mr. James Bell, attorney from the Youth Law Center, framed the issue around 3 main concerns:  1) mandatory detention.  Requires 6 mos detention for expanded list of offenses, esp. with firearms.  2) hidden costs of litigation from crowding, hidden costs of staff in facilities in terms of morale and OT   3) elimination of informal probation (deferred entry of judges) , thus increasing demands on counseling staff

The proposition's gang related provisions will increase the number and length of trials.  The juvenile authorities will have to begin complying with the demand of establishing systems for compliance with registering and verifying gang related activities.  Meaning the dept will have to identify (how to) the person as a gang person, what s/he does which makes him/her a gang person, and what the dept. will do with him/her as a gang person.  All of these activities will be the responsibility of the local depts without financial assistance from the State.

Mr. Bell said that some counties will be using the Prop to reduce their local costs because the costs for referrals to the CYA will be the State's responsibility.

Comm. Julian commented that it was clear that this proposition would work counter to reducing the population in juvenile hall.

Comm. Shimko said that also working to increase juvenile hall numbers, the proposition requires that certain violators be kept in juvenile hall until they appear before a judge (overriding the detention criteria tool used by the Dept.)

Question: does the 6 mos detention preclude unsecured placement?  Answer: appears to say, juvenile hall, a ranch, or Youth Authority (a secure facility).  This would make juvenile hall a post disposition placement. Does the 6 mos mandatory stay give credit to time served prior to the court hearing?  No clarity on this.

Question: what about the challenges to the ballot being pursued.  There are various issues about the ballot being challenged: its multiplicity, its inconsistent summaries in voters' handbooks -owing to county by county actions.  Mr. Bell thought it would be difficult to convince the courts that voters did not know what they were voting on. 

Question: would pre hearing releases be allowed?  Possibly, but for certain violations, the proposition would discourage this -fearing public safety, danger of flight—since the youth would be facing serious jail time.   Question: disclosure issue.  The proposition would allow the police to release info about a youth upon arrest, but such disclosure can be prohibited if a judge determined it to be.  Maybe the Juvenile Probation Dept needs to work something out with the Police Dept so that no disclosure is made until a judge determines the propriety of it.

Question: how much local discretion is there to apply Prop 21 or not.  Mr. Bell said there is some discretion in some areas of the prop. 

It was felt that the State would not pursue prosecution of counties which did not enforce Prop. 21.   It was also noted that the Sheriff's Dept indicated an interest in taking juveniles into their facilities (for the higher rates of pay from the State for juvenile detention).

Comm. Hale commented that Prop 21 is a backend attempt to deal with the problem of juvenile delinquency rather than putting the emphasis on the prevention.  Mr. Bell said that already 87% of the youth in CYA are people of color.  He commented that the most important thing that can be done now, locally, is to up the efforts toward prevention, to further lower the potential of youth being caught in the net tightening.

Question: any flexibility in definition of gangs?  Answer: this is not the question. The issue is the wide ranging inclusion of things that might be defined as "gang related" or "in furtherance of gang activity".  So more people can be brought into the "net" database of gangs/gang related.

Jessica Smith and Jewn Strohlin ("Jewnbug"), from the Youth Commission:

Jewnbug spoke first about the increased pressures and stress put on families from this proposition.  She also mentioned the lessened opportunities for advocacy on the part of the juvenile when direct filing in adult court occurs.  Various ways she and the Youth Commission (via the Juvenile Justice Committee [Task Force]) are working on this issue are: doing articles for newspapers (eg. Bay Guardian) to further educate the public about their rights and how to protect themselves in light of the proposition, doing training for police officers and others to change their perceptions of youth and their interaction with youth.

She said that the Juvenile Probation Commission can support the Youth Commission by endorsing their work, as well as increase the Juvenile Probation Dept's work with the schools (eg. more counseling for at risk youth) for prevention. 

J. Smith touched on a few points:  the Youth Commission held a forum in Feb. to get adults and youth to express what they thought would work in bettering the relationship between the generations (she had a report from that forum that she passed out to the Commissioners).  She also had a fact sheet comparing the costs of prevention and intervention.    She said she suspected that youth tried as adults (under Prop 21) would not receive the same support services that youth in the juvenile system receive.   She suggested that the Juvenile Probation Dept find some ways of linking the juvenile POs with those youth put over into the adult system, or if this wasn't possible, to train the adult POs how to deal with those youth, and provide them with the resources they would need.  Smith also raised the issue of potential harassment of youth in the adult system.  She emphasized that it would be important to widely educate youth on what their rights are, and how to de-escalate the situation if dealing with the police.  These and other community based prevention services are important and she encouraged the Dept. to further give support to them.

ACPO Tucker mentioned that the Dept. has outplaced probation officers in schools.  She also mentioned that the number of community program contracts have tripled since 4 years ago.

Comm. Arámburo  thanked Smith and Strohlin for the reports.  She said they welcomed the continuing dialog on this issue and the participation of the Youth Commission on the upcoming work.

Comm. Hale commented that there needs to be a re definition of what the police are, and what young people are.  Young people need to see police as people.  Junebug agreed, and commented that the prejudice cuts both ways, that those negative generalizations are held by police as well as young people toward the other.. 

There was a discussion around the ways that Jewnbug worked with the schools.  She described a very intensive and interactive way that she worked in the classrooms (called REAL), doing ‘real life' lessons incorporated into the subject matter in the class (whether it was math, English or social studies).  The objective of her work is the development of critical thinking, and empowerment of youth so they can understand and handle life situations positively and peacefully.  Her presentation and explanation of the activities was impressive and warmly received.     Question:  how will Prop 21 affect those coming out of LCR?  ACPO Tucker said that the Dept. is trying to improve the Aftercare program so that they have more support when they come out.

Comm. Julian acknowledged, with great appreciation, the energy and passion expressed and shown by Jewnbug and Jessica Smith, to community service to the youth of the community, and that the Commission shares that commitment and passion for the youth.  He thanked them again for taking the time to speak to the Commission.

Comm. Hale stated that he is concerned about the ability of the court to revoke probation without a hearing and order a dispositional hearing.   Looks like lack of due process.  The second issue he raised was the elimination of need to notice parents of impending hearings. 

Further, the requirement of having a parent sign a release and promise to appear before a youth can be released to the parents will be problematic with the immigrant and "runaway" population in the Dept.

Comm. Dupré introduced the Principal of Ben Franklin MS, Ms. Marilyn Noda Ford, who extended her welcome to the Commission.

It was suggested that the Commission establish an Ad Hoc Committee to monitor the effects of Prop 21, as it is implemented.  Comm. Julian directed the Secretary to work this out.

5.   (DISCUSSION)   Public Comment on any matter within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Juvenile Probation Commission.    None.

6.  (DISCUSSION)   Announcements, requests for future agenda items.

Comm. Shimko announced that with the April Commission meeting, she will finish her role on the Commission, and asked that if fellow Commissioners had any potential candidates for her replacement, she would welcome the referral.

7.   (ACTION)   Adjournment

      The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 pm.



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


approved 4/26/2000