June 11, 2010 Communications Sub-Committee Meeting

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

June 11, 2010
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Chicago Metropolis 2020
Chicago, IL

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order at 10:12 AM.

Roll Call

Commissioners: Julie Biehl, Dr. Debra Ferguson, Lisa Jacobs, Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne.  Quorum declared present.

Staff: Karrie Rueter, Julie Stremlau.

Guests: Jonathon Riley, Andrea Durbin (Youth Network Council).

Approval of Minutes

Lisa Jacobs motioned to approve March 25, 2010 minutes.  Julie Biehl seconded the motion.  All in favor, motion passed.

Discussion of Committee Charter

The Communications Committee is the formal communication venue for the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (IJJC).  It is responsible for all letters and correspondence on behalf of the IJJC. This includes annual and other mandated information.  The Communications Committee will also be the contact for the public media.  It will channel the data and information to the Legislature, the General Assembly and the Governor pertaining to juvenile justice issues.  The Communications Committee will decide on policy recommendations and implementation strategies on behalf of the full Commission with the final approval of the Executive Committee.

Decisions will be based on a consensus.  Co-Chairs have final determination.  Minority opinions may be represented and committee members have equal status within the group for the purpose of assignments and final product.  Information will be relevant and in a timely manner.  The recommendations will follow the IJJC By-Laws.  The committee recommendations will be presented to the full Commission for final approval.

The Commission Chair selects membership to the Committee.  The Communications Committee will identify additional community members for the committee with final approval from the Commission Chair.  The Commission Chair appoints the Co-Chairs.

The meetings must follow the Open Meetings Act.  Proxies are not allowed and minutes will be taken and distributed.  Meetings will be recorded.

Review of Current Reports/Assignments

Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne informed the Committee that the Commission budget response letter was sent.  A response was received from Karen May.  Ms. May indicated her thanks for the Commission's letter.  She conveyed that the Governor is working to decrease the budget gap and she is constantly seeking solutions to these issues.  Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne also reported that Jim Bray felt the letter was not strong enough.  The letter was edited for content and length before final distribution.  These necessary edits appear to have softened the overall message.

Julie Biehl asked what the Commission's role is in addressing these issues.  How can the Commission be successful in its mission?  How can the Commission be heard?  Lisa Jacobs noted that Tracy Velasquez, Executive Director of the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), has completed many reports and could assist the Commission.  It was recommended that all Commissioners be invited to participate if this can be arranged.

Lisa Jacobs asked if the Commission has a platform.  Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne reported that the Commission Retreat did not cover that specific information.  The special budget meeting will assist in addressing this issue.  The platform drives everything the Commission does.  Debra Ferguson responded that much of the Retreat was spent deciding upon the mission, vision and values of the Commission.  She stated that there was not enough time to expand on those decisions to establish where the Commission would like to go.  July 13th is the anticipated date for the budget meeting.  It was mentioned that a save the date notice could be sent out for the July 13th meeting and that the Planning and Grants Committee should meet also.  The committee recommends the budget meeting begin at 10:00am and the Planning and Grants committee meeting from 3:00-5:00pm on July 13th.

Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne will send a copy of the current Annual Report draft to the Communications Committee Members.  Karrie Rueter explained what goes in the report. She stated that the last report submitted was a two-year report.  This was due to the report being overdue.  The 2009 report is past due.  This last report submitted focused on the core requirements of the OJJDP Act and the status of those requirements.  It also had a complete update on the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Lisa Jacobs stated that it is difficult for a new commissioner to update the 2009 Annual Report.  She stated it is difficult to supplement or edit a report of activities that took place prior to the commissioner's appointments.  There are benefits to providing brief supplements which describe overall juvenile justice priorities and efforts of 2009, particularly those focusing on the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne made a recommendation to complete another two-year report. Debra Ferguson added that the IJJC has been transformed and there is a new Governor. There is a multitude of changes happening in Illinois and the Commission members do not feel they can do justice to this report in its current state. Lisa Jacobs motioned to combine the 2009 and 2010 Annual Report with the coverage period being January 2009 to December 2010.  Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne seconded the motion.  All in favor.  Motion passed.

Julie Biehl shared her proposal on the parole report.  She is having issues getting information from DJJ.  The HB 5914 Report consists of doing six months of data and this consists of about 450 files and a lot of time.  Kurt Friedenauer, Director of DJJ, was asked to share this information.  Mr. Friendenauer responded that he was working on it.  It was recommended to document all attempts to request data from DJJ.  Karrie Rueter added that there is currently a lack of a great data system and this could be some of the issue Mr. Friendenauer is having providing the requested information.

Researchers are working to make the data collection easier.  The data will be put on a SPSS as it is easier to use.  Students are working on what is the law.  They have added indicators to the original form.  Students will put together a calendar of hearings available for Commissioners to attend.  If we recommend a tracking report then we have to understand what is happening now.  Information must be shared.  Julie Beihl noted that she would initiate a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) if the information is not provided.  Debra Ferguson added that a FOIA should be initiated.  Legislation requires that DJJ be cooperative.  Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne moved to send the letter requesting the information and if no response is received then a FOIA will be issued.  Julie Biehl seconded the motion. All in favor, motion passed.

Julie Biehl reported that the interns are finalizing a review form.  Once this form is completed there will be a meeting to assist the Commissioners on how to complete an observation.  A codebook will be provided.

The Raise the Age Report is due December 31, 2011.  This is Senate Bill 3085.  The Communications Committee will address this report when they have completed their current assignments.  Debra Ferguson explained that the bill will become a law if the Governor does not sign the bill in 60 days.  Karrie Rueter added that ICJIA could assist in gathering data for this report.

Other Business

An Executive Committee meeting will need to be scheduled.  June 18th may be an option.  Notices will be sent out.  Co-Chair Esther Franco-Payne stated she had an issue with the DJJ proposal being voted upon prior to the Strategic Budget Planning which is set for July.  Karrie Rueter explained that the request is for the Clinical Director and a Compliance Monitor.  It is for $290,800 before the end of June.  Debra Ferguson requested the members be given a copy of the original proposal.  This will be distributed to the committee.

Next Meeting

Unknown at this time.  Time, date and location will be posted as necessary.


Debra Ferguson motioned to adjourn the meeting.  Julie Biehl seconded the motion.  All in favor.  Meeting adjourned at 11:56 AM.