Davenport, September 19, 2019In recognition of the tenth anniversary of National Juvenile Justice Action Month as proclaimed by the Washington, D.C.-based the Campaign for Youth Justice, Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken* announced today he will co-host a community forum on juvenile justice issues at Noon on Saturday, October 5. The two-hour-long program -- “Juvenile Justice and Jails” – will be co-hosted by the Juvenile Justice Coalition of the Quad Cities and held in the Champions Club Room in Modern Woodmen Park, located at 209 South Gaines Street in Davenport. The general public, and especially young people and parents, are encouraged to attend. Admission is FREE.
“As Scott County considers increasing the capacity of its Juvenile Detention Center by over 250% at a cost of millions to county taxpayers; it is appropriate that we begin a community dialogue on more effective and less expensive alternatives to incarceration,” Croken said. “There is no debate that public safety demands that we incarcerate violent offenders and many repeat felons, even when they are juveniles,” Croken added. “However, as the cost of detention continues to skyrocket and there appears to be little evidence of any long-term rehabilitation taking place; we need to consider new approaches,” he said.
According to Croken, other communities have succeeded in reducing the number of juvenile detainees and returning youthful offenders to productive community life using restorative justice programs. These alternatives to incarceration include mediation, restitution, community service and supervision; and, court diversion programs. “With single digit population growth in Scott County it’s hard to justify why we need to increase our capacity to jail our children by more than 250%? Such an increase will likely create the largest juvenile detention center in the state,” Croken said.
The program on October 5 will feature “keynote” speaker, Shaena Fazal. Ms. Fazal is Chief of Policy, Advocacy and External Communications for Youth Advocate Programs. The mission of YAP is to build community capacity to bring and keep young people out of institutional placement. YAP works in over half the country, partnering with governments, young people and their families to provide intensive alternatives to institutions. Ms. Fazal will provide a national perspective on innovative community responses to juvenile delinquency.
Following Fazal’s presentation, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Supervisor Croken to explore the current state of juvenile justice reform in Scott County and elsewhere. Panelists scheduled to participate include: Campaign for Juvenile Justice State Campaign Director Brian Evans; Grand View University Professor of History Kevin Gannon (featured in the highly acclaimed film, “13”); Scott County Director of Juvenile Detention and Diversion Programs Jeremy Kaiser; Progressive Action for the Common Good Representative Margie Mejia-Caraballo; Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Administrator Steve Michael; City of Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski; and, St. Ambrose University Criminal Justice Associate Professor Grant Tietjen.
Local sponsors of the October 5 community forum include: Davenport NAACP Branch 4019, Progressive Action for the Common Good, Quad Cities Interfaith and other QC-based organizations committed to social justice. Also, the forum would not be possible without the generous support of Dave Heller, owner of the Quad Cities River Bandits baseball club.
* Supervisor Croken is convening this event individually and not on behalf of the Scott County Board of Board of Supervisors.