4C - Progress Made in FY2009


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4C - Progress Made in FY2009

The IJJC has established three main goals pertaining to DMC. The information that follows highlights the progress made toward those goals in the past year.

Improve the state's data collection and analysis efforts. In order to address DMC, Illinois needs to collect data on race and ethnicity at all key decision points within the system.

As discussed above, current data collection and reporting systems are inadequate to fully measure DMC and other juvenile justice initiatives throughout Illinois. To address this issue, the 2nd Judicial Probation Department, in conjunction with the 2nd Judicial Circuit's Models for Change project and the IDHS Redeploy Illinois program, has initiated the development of a new case management and data collection system for juvenile cases. The new system will have the components needed to capture data for Redeploy Illinois, JDAI, BARJ, and DMC. The initial design process included evaluators to provide information regarding database formats, and consultants from the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) who provided database templates and expertise in the field of data integration. A portion of the Redeploy Illinois program funding has been allocated for the development and eventual implementation of this project.

In collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change DMC initiative, Illinois' DMC has also created a Racial Coding Manual. The manual will be used for collecting data on race and ethnicity. The document not only discusses strategies for collecting and reporting data for minorities, but also stresses the importance of collecting this information accurately. The IJJC has reviewed and approved the manual, and developments are underway for distribution and training for statewide use. The Department of Juvenile Justice has begun using the manual during the intake process. The Commission continues to encourage the Illinois State Police to modify the fingerprint card currently in use. As discussed above, this card initiates the arrest record and fails to capture ethnicity.

Increase awareness of DMC issues and encourage action. To maintain the state's commitment to reform, more education needs to be done about the nature of DMC and why reform is crucial to the overall strength of the juvenile justice system.

Working to promote DMC awareness statewide is also a key initiative the IJJC is actively working to accomplish. Illinois' DMC program has made concerted efforts toward maintaining the efficacy and sustainability of its sites. The statewide DMC Coordinator has made site visits to each DMC site on a quarterly basis, as well as individual meetings when requested. DMC sites were utilized in various community outreach and training efforts including a presentation to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; a community outreach meeting in the Chicago neighborhood of Englewood entitled "The Art of Mindful Conversation" regarding fostering positive relationships between police and youth; and a presentation to selected members of the Illinois Black Caucus. Senate Bill 0776 was passed, declaring a crisis among African American males. The bill (now a law: 20 ILCS 1305/10-32) created a Task Force on the Condition of African American Men in Illinois to gather information on multiple issues related to this population and present a report to the Illinois General Assembly. DMC staff worked with a variety of juvenile justice stakeholders to prepare material for the Criminal Justice section of the report, which made specific legislative recommendations for improving juvenile justice conditions for youth across the state.

The IJJC held a meeting with Michael Stuttley, Presiding Juvenile Justice Judge of the Sixth Municipal District of Cook County, regarding escalating numbers of juvenile court cases brought before the sites in the district, and declining state revenues that were previously available to address these issues. The Commission outlined several possible sources for new funding and outlined specific strategies for sustainability.

In June of 2009, Illinois DMC staff convened a statewide DMC Summit, which promoted the understanding of DMC and focused on developing advocacy and sustainability for the state-funded DMC sites. The conference featured juvenile justice advocates and stakeholders from across the state who learned about the work of Illinois DMC and the issues that are faced. State Representative Al Riley was a featured speaker, as well as Kristie Brackens and Andrea Coleman from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The conference also featured youth from across the state who had been directly affected by the work of Illinois DMC and youth who work in conjunction with the sites to reduce disproportionate minority contact.

The statewide DMC Coordinator held quarterly meetings with each funded locality. The Coordinator also attended advisory board meetings and other DMC-related events with each site, and scheduled additional meetings when necessary. The Coordinator will continue to provide support to each site and engage in consistent communication.

The statewide Coordinator has also participated in numerous events promoting DMC and its awareness, including a presentation for the National Conference of State Legislators in October 2009 and a presentation to the Bronzeville Youth Consortium in the Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville. Illinois DMC will continue to promote DMC awareness across the state through printed materials and presentations

Direct financial resources to communities to address DMC. Investing in community programs strengthens their ability to monitor progress and provide alternatives to incarceration for youth of color.

The IJJC has continued to fund DMC Site Coordinators (including the new sites) and a statewide DMC Coordinator. As discussed later in this section, the IJJC is also directing funds toward future site replication. Efforts are ongoing to evaluate ways to direct funding toward the improvement of DMC reduction efforts across the state. The DMC Coordinator participates in as many local trainings, conferences, and workshops pertaining to DMC as possible. The Coordinator participates in all OJJDP annual DMC conferences, as well as monthly conference calls. The DMC Coordinator has also participated in a recent training in conducting a DMC assessment facilitated by OJJDP.