Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission
PLANNING AND GRANTS COMMITTEE

April 10, 2008
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
James R. Thompson Center, Chicago
Illinois Dept. of Corrections, Springfield


I. Call to order and approval of minutes - Chair Patricia Connell

Meeting was called to order at 1:07 PM.

II. Roll Call and Introduction of Participants

Commissioners: Patricia Connell (Chair), Rodney Ahitow, Gary Leofanti, George Hill, Joe Mayo

Staff: Mary O'Brien, Julie Stremlau, Karrie Rueter

Others: Lisa Jacobs-MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Contribution Program Manager; Steve Kossman-Director, Probation and Court Services of Peoria County; Jeff Howard-CEO, Cook County Public Defenders Office; Shobhan Makadev-Northwestern University School of Law; John Hayes-Executive Director, First Defense Legal Aid; Judge John Payne; Art Feldman-Assistant Public Defender, McLean County; Vicki Rogers-Member of the Defenders Office assigned to Juvenile Delinquency Courts.

III. Presentation of findings from "Illinois Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings". Shobhan Makadev, Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), Northwestern University School of Law.

Shobhan Madadev reported that CFJC conducted an assessment in fall.  They were doing assessments across the country then IL became involved with Models for Change.  The assessment is not only quantitative but qualitative.  It identified counties to be representative of Illinois and identified systemic issues.  It was noted that there were great practices and not so great practices everywhere.  It was suggested that if you advocate well you can have better outcomes.  The assessments were confidential and as such better information could be gathered.  There was good and bad everywhere regardless of the resources.  The findings indicated a lot of plea bargaining was going on.  Lack of advocacy was some of the issues with proceedings as many judges and attorney's lacked the probable cause discovery and the sequence of a high rate of cases pleaded out very early.  There was a need to access the experts.  They were either unaware the experts were available or afraid to request them as there may be backlash.  There was a lack of knowledge of the resources available.  Programs remained unchanged for a long time.  Very few appeals filed in many cases.  They had funded services but needed training and usually had fly by night processes instead of a true plan.

Communities are all different.  Full time defenders and services were quite different compared to those with just part time services.  Juvenile court is a training ground for many.  There is evidence of severely compromised representation of the clients.  Supervision and training make a huge difference.  Competency in communities was an issue.

The communities lacked support from computers, technology, investigators, etc.  Another issue was the Court assigning a public defender and another child having someone pay for counsel.  There was a noted difference of the services received.  The right to council and which type of representation they received was compromised due to the money being paid.  One other noted issue was observers of the court troubled to see juveniles shackled in court.

One of the most important findings of the assessment was early and timely appointment of counsel made a huge difference.  Electronic monitoring could help.  Access the training resources out there.  There was a great lack of training and access to materials for training.  Investigators and social workers need to know their role.  Social Workers can really help facilitate each person's role in the process.

Training for attorneys is available at the Family Resource Center.  There needs to be a consistency in training across the state.  The idea of the resource center was to use this as a clearing house, didn't want to wait for money so some things went through the MacArthur Foundation.  They are developing a Training Manual.

A copy of the Executive Summary is available and attached to the minutes of this meeting.

Pat Connell asked if something could be done with the money allotted, what would be the recommendation.  Shobhan stated that technology might reduce detention and a training tool kit could be of assistance.  There is a need for resources for defenders across the state.  There is a need for money for investigators across the state and increase access to counsel at the station house.

IV. Experience of two counties having Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission funded Defender enhancement grants. Steven Kossman, Director of Probation and Court Services, Peoria County; Art Feldman, Asst. Public Defender, McLean County.

Art Feldmon, Assistant Public Defender has an investigator.  The investigator is an African-American and travels to the detention centers.  He would interview, contact the parents, come to the hearing and help the defendant prepare for the hearing.  At 1:30 every day, he was ready to go as he had prepared all morning with what was available.  This was successful with three years of funding.  It was overall a very positive experience for the defendants.  When it expired the county took it over.  They determined that this person was probably not busy enough with his cases so they added doing investigative work on the side.  The fact the man was African American helped as most in detention were minorities and they were able to be open with this individual.

Steve Kossman, Director of Probation and Court Services of Peoria County stated that access to counsel, better quality of information and more and better information made a difference.  Problem with their initial process was they couldn't measure what was happening with the kids.  Kids in detention for Failure to Appear were a consistent occurrence.  The plan was to contact them to get them there and then the outcome was always better overall.  They couldn't find a difference to measure, what was happening with the kids and whether they were being detained or not.  In nine months in place compared to entire year of 2006, Detention of Fail to Appear cases decreased by 15% and 20% of African-American kids improved.  It was the human contact that made the difference. Legal counsel is to notify about court, etc. but this doesn't get done consistently.  We expect it but it doesn't always happen. It is difficult to contact them as accurate information is not always there.  They don't have phones or have track phones, etc.  A database to hold this information so people could be contacted with all other names and numbers necessary to get people informed.  Funding could go for automated system to do this.

There would be a better system to provide reminders about probation appointments, treatments, etc. to be done electronically rather than a person on the phone constantly.

Karrie Rueter asked if during the second phase they continued with the first phase.  They stated they did the exact same plan as McLean County.  They still had access to counsel but did not gain the qualitative information they needed. Looking at data they couldn't prove the measurable difference.  Paralegals needed to continue to get the information passed on.  Changed some strategies but outcomes didn't change.  The mechanical piece was more demonstrative of what they wanted to accomplish.

V. The First Defense Model

John Hayes, Executive Director of First Defense Legal Aid, stated his services have been around for about 14 years.  They have helped hundreds if not thousands of juveniles.  They have a 24 hour Hotline with an on-call attorney.  Primary focus is on their Hotline and their secondary focus is on the Street Law Project, called the Inglewood Law Project.

Their program is focused on the rights of juveniles and how they should conduct themselves with the police if they are approached, questioned or arrested.  They also provide general counseling services.  The services are free and they assist the client as necessary.  30% of their client base is juveniles in custody.  His service is manned by volunteers.  There was a question about serving outside of Cook County and their services do not go outside of Cook County.  Mr. Hayes would like to hire another person as he is a one-man show.  It is a very draining business. He stated that he could then serve more juveniles.  It would help make others aware of what they do with more presentations and they would be able to serve more kids.  They have 70 volunteers who rotate work times and they recruit every month. A question was posed to profiling of the juveniles.  No, the data and paper work are faxed to Public Defenders office weekly and monthly.  There were no studies to indicate what percentage end up with a delinquent charge and what percent get to go home to parents.  No comparison studies were done but Mr. Hayes stated that easily 98% of those they work with are minorities.

Their group is in such demand so they are limited to serve other areas.  Their goal is to avoid self incrimination.  A Declaration of Rights form is completed and served on the police so it is a part of their record.  The goal of his service is to maintain the child's rights and avoid incrimination.  The criterion for station house visit is if a juvenile is in custody, they go.  No attorney is prevented from entering the station.  A record is kept on file with the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA).

Gary Leofanti asked how the First Defense organization is funded and do they sell themselves as dealing with DMC.  Barely funded was the reply by Mr. Hayes and that they are funded by many other foundations such as the Illinois Bar Foundation and Applewood Foundation.  They are more focused on education.  They are definitely a resource to minorities.

VI. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Contribution Lisa Jacobs, Program Manager

Lisa Jacobs, Program Manager refers to the defender assessment.  There are four components:

  1. Convening an advisory board to spearhead examination of the defender system and identifying strategies to implement the defender assessment completed in 2007 by Northwestern as part of the Models for Change work.  Engaging and communicating with juvenile defenders across the entire state to determine their strengths, needs and interests in training, etc.
  2. Improving resources available to juvenile defenders, including helping define the role and capacity of the defender resource center established legislatively last year, increasing communication networks among juvenile defenders, Developing and implementing an advanced training and skills-development curriculum for Illinois juvenile defenders.
  3. Developing Illinois-focused standards and guidelines for the representation of youth in delinquency cases.
  4. Increasing post-dispositional advocacy for youth in the delinquency system.  May include increased numbers and efficacy of appeals, expungement of juvenile records and other enhanced advocacy on other post-adjudication issues.  The focus is The Department of Juvenile Justice kids and their access to counsel.  Not sure how they would continue after the grant money is gone.  Need to increase the defenders in Illinois; some are isolated and need targeted skill development level training.  Role of Defenders is the focus.  There are National entities and we can ask for technical assistance and they provide at their cost.  Mr. Kossman stated their models were helpful to Peoria.

George Hill stated he could see how these actions could make the court system adversarial.  Mr. Kossman stated the kids were treated like kids and that worked.  There is a need to create advocacy and a relationship with the court.

From the findings, it was asked if there was any relationship of quality of services and an increase in services as the charges went upShobhan replied not really.  There were situations where that happened but not across the board.  Gary Leofanti asked Lisa Jacobs if there was a DMC focus to their model.  She replied that DMC is equal to the defender works; it is our obligation to look at disporportionality but not stand alone for DMC.

Karrie Rueter agreed there is an inappropriate use of plea bargaining.  Over 70% and those are questionable and not in the best interest of the child.  It seems there should be a way to address legislation which could make some safe guards.

Shobhan stated the Juvenile Court is usually the first stomping ground for most attorneys.  George Hill believes training the police officer is the best place to train for juveniles across the state, not defense attorneys.

Lisa Jacobs asked if the person whom helps and intervenes, etc. on behalf of the child has to be an attorney.  Yes, the only person who can see the child in custody is the guardian or an attorney, according to the current laws.  She agrees that advocacy very early on is the key.  Allowing a lay person access to the juvenile in custody would require extraordinary legislative change.

Joe Mayo added that there should be certain steps taken between the arrest and the judge.  Investigation is the key.  Money should be given to agencies that have the necessary knowledge of the community.  Pat Connell stated that we need a means to make the justice system better.  What does the budget look like and what can we do to make things better.  Legislation may occur and may not, depends.

Lisa Jacobs stated better understanding and better training is important for everyone.  A need for knowledge of adolescent development, decision making, and community based resources.  If the States Attorney and the prosecutor would agree with that, it would benefit everyone.

Lisa Jacobs was asked if the system is adversarial.  She replied that it is an adversarial system and it is the obligation of the attorneys to do this.  In McLean the investigator provides this information and makes it less adversarial.  Providing the services does not increase the adversarial aspect.

Pat Connell stated we are naïve if we think that attorney and prosecutors are being good about this.  They want to win.  Not that they are corrupt because they want to win.  The prosecutors just don't work in the best interest of the child.

Steve Kossman stated most attorneys are working in the obsessed interest, not the best interest of the child.  Shobhan stated that for most of the public defenders, they were not motivated and deferred to the probation officer rather than advocating for the child.  Gary Leofanti stated there is a very different representation at police department.  The interest of the police and the prosecutor is a conviction.  Judge Payne stated the more information a judge had the better, in reference to the judge's decision.

Shobhan indicated the assessment found that the public defender of the cases held meetings and pre-trials that were not attended.  Decisions were being made at the courthouse door.  This keeps the cases moving.  Defendants would not appear.  Education would help the whole process.

Steve Kossman stated that representation at the Police Station would be ideal.  Many times there is no prosecutive merit to the case and this should be decided long before the child is detained.  They are not making the call to have the kid released before the 40 hours is up.

Lisa Jacobs explained that of those children, 78% are African-American and 72% on probation are African-American.  The African-Americans are coming in at higher rates but leaving at higher rates.  There are other pieces to the puzzle such as competencies, diminished capacity and admissibility of information, etc.

The question was posed as to what could help defend the children.  John Hayes stated the more information the better the process and the better the decision and less detainment.  There is a need of time for interviews of relatives and parents so you have the information.  Investigators can gather the information and so can social workers.

There are alternative programs that are in the community.  The social workers know more than the investigator. It was stated that in addition to African Americans, there are many Latinos involved in the system. Every county needs help with the Latino population.

Lisa Jacobs announced that Judge Timberlake and 60 IL State Police officers will participate in an all-day training.  They will talk about community based interventions. What works, the law and what is most popular.  They will learn about adolescent development, decision making and behaviors, etc.  DMC will be discussed.  Steven Kossman stated he has learned a lot in the business and in the 38 years he has worked, he has never had a referral from the state police.  The issue is not the juvenile officer it is the other officers that are new and young that need training.

VII. Discussion of implications for future Commission grant making

Gary Leofanti stated it might be better if the Commission did not get involved with recommendations for appropriations for either group.  He stated that training would help make a better system.  Something could be done with the resources but whether we should approve of State appropriations for the Defense Model is the question.  Gary Leofanti asked how is it that the Commission should choose this and what should convince this group that the Commission should pick this over something else.

Pat Connell stated the assessment completed shows the deficiencies.  Creation of a Defendant Resource Center would help.  Any resources committed would be a help to DMC.  She continued to emphasize there is the fiscal appropriation of state dollars.  The assessment gives concrete needs and issues.

John Hayes stated as a defense attorney he totally agrees training for the police is truly important to the JJ issue.  The Juvenile defense attorneys need training.  Advocacy is the intent.

There has been a thorough discussion of this issue.  Pat Connell recommended we decide on this issue and refer to the next Commission meeting for further discussion.  The Planning and Grants Committee made a motion to further discuss this topic with Pat Connell assigned to draft the letter if the Commission does decide to back the defendant resource appropriation.

There was a request for a motion for the Committee to support state appropriations to the defender resource center.

2:50 pm Quorum declared present.

The Committee was asked if they would be more in favor of allocations to both resource centers.  George Hill agreed.  Joe May motioned and George Hill seconded the motion.  Commission approved of state appropriations for both defense and prosecutor groups.

MOTION PASSED.

Pat announced that anyone who chose was allowed to leave the meeting.

VIII. Review of Draft Title V RFP - Truancy Reduction Program

Mary O'Brien gave a brief overview of the programs reviewed.  The intent is to establish a review board in counties most in need.  Pat Connell asked about the current programs and how they work.  Mary O'Brien used Decatur, IL as an example.  Decatur is using the Career Academy and it has been successful.  In high school the student picks what they are interested in and their classes and education are focused on that choice.  Their goal is clearer to them and their education is more fun and more focused on their personal interests.

The Truancy Review Board will be in place to address the issues of why the child won't go back to school.  This body will address these issues and try to help the community, school, parents and child determine the best plan.  The data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is county oriented. We have data that describes Truancy in all counties.  George Hill suggested opening it up to the regional offices, which would mean multiple counties.  There are four counties identified with violations. Eligibility will be based upon county data. We will have about $150,000 but do not have all of it now.  There has been no legislative change, at this time. Gary Leofanti added that we must grant the money to a unit of local government.  There was a discussion as to whether to include Cook County in this endeavor.  The Commission agreed Cook County would not be included, as there is not enough money to fund the Cook County area, at this time.  It will be a 12-month grant that will begin running and functioning on its own, in time.  The county will make its own determination as to whether it will serve the entire county or just specified areas.  The money is not to be used for salaries for the board. We are hopeful and optimistic that the Board will be made up of volunteers.  A limit of grant applicants is needed.

The community would be in charge of using the money to develop or enhance the services of the Truancy Review Board.  Vermilion County recently started a 708-board type.  The Regional Office of Education (ROE) has provided administrative staff that has been dedicated to this project.  This past year they funded the Truancy Coordinator position through the 708 Mental Health Board funding.  The Truancy Coordinator provides case management and coordination for the program.  Ensuring linkage for youth and families to needed services that may prevent truancy and educating schools on the truancy reporting process.

The cost is $51,000 for salary and fringe benefits.  McLean County has one person that does all of the paperwork and preparation for the board.  This is a regular county employee.  Members of the board are all volunteers so there is no expense there.  The program is funded through the SAVE program and the only expense is $37,000 they pay one person to be the liaison with the schools.  St. Clair County had no initial costs for this initiative.  The St. Clair Regional Office of Education, Superintendent, other educational leaders, local law enforcement and Judge James Radcliffe were instrumental in starting this initiative.  The ROE my have assumed costs that are not known.

Use of the board is needed in the areas where the grant could do the most good.  Students and participants will be very well tended.  Initial thoughts were to exclude offenders but the Commission did not agree.  Although it was stipulated the Grantee will have to remain or become non-offenders or DHS will restrict or stop their funding.

If eligible, the grantee has to have either or a minimum of chronic truancy rate, a 3 or greater or a minimum number of chronic truants.  Pat Connell recommended that a sub-committee or the Executive Committee could give the approval for the Truancy Reduction Program so there is no need for a full Committee meeting, due to the time constraints.  Gary Leofanti stated he would like the Commission to have a better understanding of the truancy violators before approving the plan.

IX. Discussion of Title V Grant Application for FFY 2008

Karrie Rueter indicated that the Title V grant application was submitted.

X. Truancy Study

In reference to the Truancy RFP tables of violations, Ron Smith will provide 2007 data only.  He determines if the truancy data is correct.  An overview of the Truancy Review Board and Truancy statute are in the packet.  This project started this last year.  Due to increasing the age of legally dropping out from 17 to 18, the number of chronic truants was going up.  Kids became a truant because they couldn't drop out.  The Truancy legislation was passed because schools were locking up the kids without first trying to address their underlying issues.  There were no efforts to give them the appropriate services.  The study will look at the violating areas and determine if they are truly trying to follow the legislation.  We need information for that study.  This information will help inform funding decisions we might make through this process.  Mary O'Brien and Julie Stremlau have researched best practice models, etc.  There is a Draft RFP but it is very preliminary.  The Commission will evaluate the plan and data at the Retreat.

XI. Adjourn

Meeting was adjourned at 4:15 PM.