(DISCUSSION) General discussion of issues and concerns brought up by community residents in attendance, with possible recommendations for future consideration.
Espanola Jackson, recounted her own experience with the juvenile system in the city, when it was located at 150 Otis St., asked the commission to get to work with the SFUSD to catch them when they are young. She expressed her concern for the “ghost” programs/orgs. that get govt. money but aren’t doing anything. She said she was ready to work with the Dept to do things for the youth in the community.
Daniel Agamoto, a resident, and former resident of Log Cabin Ranch, said that the education programs need to be improved, as well as having counselors who could better relate to the youth.
Shawn Richard, BAG, said that POs need to be more sensitive to their charges and the families of the youth. He also emphasized that the commission needs to get out to the various communities so they can become more familiar, as well as become more recognized.
He also spoke about the unnecessary detention that continues. He noted that adults need to re take control over youth, and not let them be “in control” as they have become.
F. DaCosta spoke against the overuse of out of home placement.
Denise (BAG) encouraged people to get to know the kids who are in detention, as people.
Howard Smith, said grass roots organizations need to be involved in the rehab of the youth.
James Bryant, Pres of the Randolph Institute, mentioned a basketball tournament they host, and invited the commission to attend.
Mike Texata, BAG, asked if anything could be done to speed up the court hearing process, so that parents aren’t made to wait hours before appearing.
He also said that counselors need to talk to the detained youth when they come back from court hearings to know what might be going on with the youth.
Demetria, a parent, was concerned with the difficulty with getting information, as a victim of a crime. Comm Queen
Rosa Womack, BAG, thanked the commission for coming to the community. She said they have met with B. Fisher of Huckleberry Youth, to explore ways to better serve the youth in this community.
Comm Fetico said he came onto the commission in order to see how he could help all aspects of the system could work better for the youth. He said that CBOs should come up to the Dept and support their youth, possibly coming to court. He reflected on his own past experience with a CBO in this community, and his current one in the Mission district. He said the youth need more role models and CBOs can provide this.
Denise (BAG) also mentioned that the courts should demand parents be involved in their kids probation.
Comm Stiglich mentioned the issue of juvenile privacy rights, but told her that there are victims’ rights and that she should pursue that with the DA (there is a victims’ rights division).
She commented that it is late in the process by the time the Commission hears of these issues, and while we are all involved and are concerned for the welfare of the youth, the partnership starts with parents and community early on.
S. Richard, BAG, commented that crack cocaine has destroyed families and made it more difficult for these aspects of the partnership to have control. Kids no longer respect them.
Comm Ricci agreed that commissioners should talk to kids in Juvenile Hall, to get a better idea of who they are, and what they’re like. Regarding parenting, she said it would be important to get more parents into the parenting program up at YGC.
Regarding the Dept budget, she said the commission should look at allocations and discuss what would be the best way to use the budget.
Espanola Jackson referenced a concern some years ago, of Judge Donald Mitchell that the SFUSD was kicking out kids from K. The community opened the 21st century academy at former Fremont elementary school.
H. Smith, commented that there were a lot of “ghost” programs that were not real but getting money to serve.
Comm Hale asked what is missing in the community now. What are “we” going to do about it? How do we work effectively with community members. What are the concrete steps?
S. Richard spoke off mike and was not picked up.
Chief Sifferman said all these comments are giving him thought. He said, with the number of recidivism, it seems the message from the Dept is either not being heard, or not being put out clearly or correctly. He also wanted to see how the Dept’s work could be incorporated into the community, and also how they could become involved in the early stages of delinquency, in early intervention. He assured them that he is committed to the least restrictive detention without compromising public safety.
The Chief said the Dept might possibly put together a team for that basketball tournament.
Leamon McGruff spoke off mike and was not picked up.