Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force hears subcommittee reports
Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force met Thursday, Feb. 23.
The Champaign County Board seeks to take positive steps to address the issue of racial disparity in the jail population and in the criminal justice system more broadly. The Racial Justice Task Force will report its findings, including a list of recommended actions and means for implementation, as well as further research to address the issues of racial disparity, to the Champaign County Board.
Here are the minutes as provided by Champaign County:
Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF) Meeting Minutes Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:30 pm
I. Call to Order Sam Byndom called the meeting to order at 6:35pm.
II. Roll Call Members Present: S. Balgoyen, S. Byndom, L. Branham, A. Felty, D. Harber, R. Hughes, S. Lerner, C. Randolph, S. Silver, D. Turner, G. Walter.
Members Absent: M. Ar-Raheem, E. Dee, A. Evans, A. James, E. Patt, H. Ross, A. Shelton.
III. Approval of Agenda Sara moved to approve agenda. Susan seconded. The motion carried.
IV. Approval of Minutes Susan moved to approve the minutes with the change of Matt “Hiner” to “Hiser”. Sara seconded the motion. The motion carried.
V. Presentations Report to County Board
Sara reported back about the public participation meeting to the County Board. A group presented to the County Board about the need for space for our meetings. Gerry mentioned that it would be good to do a presentation update to the County Board. This idea was echoed by Susan.
Next meeting is March 9th and will be at IBEW building on Olympia Drive. The March 23rd meeting will be at the Urbana Public Library. The meetings in April and beyond will take place at the Brookens Administration Building.
Legal Process Subcommittee
Susan updated the group about the Legal Process subcommittee. The subcommittee sent a draft format for the report to the entire task force. Esther reviewed jail records and determined there were a low number of people in jail on a low bond suggesting that low bonds is not as significant as an issue as previously thought. They met with the Chief of Champaign County Probation and he is happy to meet with the task force. The subcommittee also discussed pretrial services, the fee schedule, and drivers’ license issues. Scott mentioned the appellate defender as a potential source of information. Scott will share the contact at the appellate defender with Sara.
Lynn mentioned a study by the American Bar Association which showed that there is racial disparity in revocation of probation in some areas. Susan stated that she was told the court does not revoke probations. Sara asked if the task force should interview the Courtwatch group.
Juvenile Justice Subcommittee had no updates.
Community Engagement Subcommittee
Yuyan’s questions were answered by individuals and she is working on the database. There have been issues with NCSA for hosting web space. They are reaching out to Champaign County for possible server space.
Ryan asked if talking to the County Board about server space would be helpful. Carolyn said that the NCSA may have a formal meeting with Dr. Wilson to see if technical details could be worked out.
She also discussed the group’s action plan. Additionally, the group is working with StoryCorps and there is an offer to have StoryCorps come to Champaign to record interviews of individuals impacted by the criminal justice system over two days. They could also give the task force a Story Kit to facilitate future interviews. Sara asked if questions from the community outreach events will be used so there is connection between the events and the interviews.
Susan said the County is trying to develop a centralized system to make all the data work well together. Ryan will reach out to Kirk. Circuit Clerk’s office has been useful for Scott and indicated big changes to data management that are coming soon.
Police Practices Subcommittee
Ryan updated the group about the questionnaire they are developing. He also discussed the potential meeting with the director of PTI.
Amy said there is a subcommittee of the NAACP who met with officers from local police departments. She discussed the police arrest process and the procedures for determining arrest.
Demario asked about a ride-along and if it would be beneficial to the subcommittee.
The group briefly discussed the status of the Police Training Institute. Susan asked if police departments have the authority to do diversion programs. Lynn discussed possible diversion programs including Restorative Justice.
Sara mentioned a report from the Champaign County Committee of the Whole about Rosecranz’s re-entry program. Amy updated the group about local support for an immigrant welcoming program which is being done by an intergovernmental association.
Amy has been focusing on education. She is gathering data on issues and challenges within the school systems. She has been meeting with officials and with youth in the community. There is a ministerial alliance that presented an alternative plan for the school resources officers program in 2006. She is also looking at trauma and healing within the community and at how to support youth who have incarcerated parents.
Demario asked if Amy has looked at alternative SRO programs in neighboring counties or throughout the nation, specifically using security and not SRO’s. Lynn will connect Amy with a superintendent who may have resources for her. Carolyn asked about the process for SRO response to incidents in the schools including arrests and reports. Demario expressed concern about SRO’s and the procedures. Sara will share SRO data with Amy.
VI. New Business Structuring of RJTF Report
Lynn asked if we should have a separate section on implicit bias so that all subcommittees who may deal with implicit bias can have a piece in that section. Sara agrees with the idea. There was discussion about how to organize the proposed section. Lynn also proposed a possible section on performance measures. She introduced an idea to place a summary of disparity data to the front of the report in one section. Sara suggested having data in a summary section but also in the other sections. Amy and Gerry suggested having the largest data in appendices.
Lynn asked about using footnotes vs. endnotes. Sam recommended using footnotes if they are just footnotes. Because some will have endnotes, it was encouraged that the entire report have endnotes.
VII. Task Force Member Comments Amy shared information about a Google calendar about racial and social justice community events. She will share the email. It is called the “End Racism Hub.”
Sara opened the idea about hosting a screening of the movie the “13th”.
Racial Taboo will be shown Sunday, March 12th at 2:30pm.
VIII. Public Participation There was no public participation at the time of this item.
IX. Subcommittee Meetings This item was tabled.
X. Adjournment Carolyn moved to adjourn.
Organizations in this Story
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