October/November Newsletter

Vol. 5 #12 November 3, 2014

Developing Brain, Developing Accountability

Using Science to Direct Our Policy and Practice for Educating, Disciplining and Growing Our Children into Accountable Adults

Approximately 800 people attended this event on September 29, 2014 (CME/CLE/CEU credit was given for attendance). The conference began with brain science and the importance of interaction with babies. The first 1,000 days of life are so vital to brain development. Research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, or households struggling with substance abuse and mental illness has a powerful impact on brain development. For further information see below:

ACEs Connection: Iowa ACEs Action Group

ACEs Connection is a national, online community of practice that uses trauma-informed, resilience-building practices to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences & further trauma. Iowa ACEs Action is a group within ACEs Connection that connects individuals and communities across Iowa who are reducing adverse childhood experiences and the impact of toxic stress. This collaborative online community serves as the venue for sharing resources and best practices, and for launching discussion and open communication across all regions of our state. Visit www.acesconnection.com and join the “Iowa ACEs Action Group.”

Trauma Informed Care Project Stakeholders

The Trauma Informed Care Project Stakeholders group, part of Orchard Place’s Trauma Informed Care Project, is a community stakeholder’s group whose goal is to educate the larger system on the impact of trauma; examining policies, procedures and organizational structures to help prevent re-traumatization. This group meets quarterly. If you are interested in joining please contact Gladys Alvarez at galvarez@orchardplace.org. For more information on the Trauma Informed Care Project visit the project website at www.traumainformedcareproject.org.

The next section of the conference focused on the educational environment and restorative practices in Iowa schools. A valuable speaker was a retired principal from Walla Walla, Washington (Jim Sporleder) who shared his experiences from following policies in a zero tolerance school environment to one that took the time to talk with students demonstrating negative behaviors.

The last part was on restorative justice, covering the trends in Polk County and a brief rundown of the recent court decisions that played into the current approach to juvenile justice. The sponsors for this event do not want this important issue to end with this conference. Their goal is to keep the discussion going. Amos was one of the sponsors to this event and offers the following volunteer opportunities:


What were you thinking?!?! Anyone who’s been a parent of a teenager has said or thought those words. How do we create a justice system that holds youth accountable for the mistakes they make that matches what we know about the juvenile brain? Join forces with the volunteer leaders of AMOS and help us shape a community where all kids can succeed. We have volunteer opportunities in the areas of:

  • School mediation – helping kids in middle and high schools resolve conflicts peacefully without suspensions or criminal charges
  • Court watching – see what justice looks like in the juvenile court rooms of our county
  • Racial profiling – help us document incidents of racial profiling as they occur in our community
  • Issue research – join the AMOS criminal research team and explore best practices and effective ways to reform our juvenile justice system


Click here for more information.

Additional Resources:

Brain Science


Juvenile Justice

  • Click here for resources related to juvenile justice.

For additional resources regarding the developing brain, please visit www.iowaaces360.org/developing-brain-conference.html

JRC Annual Meeting

Justice Reform Consortium held its annual meeting last October 23rd. Because of the large volume of reading in this issue, we will provide a summary of the meeting in the next JRC Newsletter.

The following is excerpted from the Iowa Legislative Services Agency – Fiscal Division Monthly Newsletter:


The Criminal and Juvenile Justice Advisory Council met September 24, 2014, at the Oran Pape Building in Des Moines. Steve Michael, Interim Administrator, updated the Council on the process of filling the Division Administrator position. The Director of the Department of Human Rights makes the final decision; Mr. Michael has applied for the position. There is also a vacant Executive Officer (EO) position within the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Division (CJJPD). Once the Division Administrator position is filled, the EO position will be filled. The vacant Information Technology position that supports the Justice Data Warehouse has been filled.


The CJJPD was recently notified that it has received several federal grants:

  • $83,000 for the Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) to work with the Department of Public Safety on updating the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The CJJPD serves as the SAC for the State of Iowa.
  • $8,001 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to work with the State Training School on Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) training. The PREA is a federal law designed to prevent rape in prisons, county jails, and juvenile detention or holding facilities.
  • $100,000 for a planning grant for Juvenile Justice Re-Entry, under the federal Second Chance Act.
  • The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) received a three-year grant award of $3.0 million under the federal Second Chance Act. The CJJPD will be a subcontractor for the evaluation of the project.


John Spinks, Vice Chair of the Council, and Dave Kuker, CJJPD staff, discussed the strategic plan for addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system. Council members and staff have been meeting with juvenile justice system providers to gain agreement on evidence-based programming for juveniles. The CJJPD is working with the

State Court Administrator’s Office to have a detention screening tool in the Iowa Court Information System (ICIS). The tool would be available to county and State employees; it would be used to determine if a juvenile should be placed in detention after arrest, or after adjudication, or after they violate the terms of supervision. Iowa has the highest rate of arrest of juveniles of color. For juvenile African Americans, they are most often arrested for simple misdemeanors; these are not violent offenses. Local law enforcement needs to effectively establish relationships will all communities, especially those of color. Mr. Kuker noted that the largest school districts have significantly reduced their suspension rates over the last five years (School-to-Court initiative). Progress is being made on this issue.

Reinvestment Initiative.

Kathy Nesteby, CJJPD, presented information regarding the state’s juvenile justice reform and reinvestment initiative. Iowa received a multiyear grant for a demonstration project through the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The goal is to assist providers in improving programs for juveniles. The CJJPD is partnering with the First, Third, and Sixth Judicial

District juvenile courts, and is reviewing community-based services and residential treatment programs for juveniles.

Five Year Plan.

Mr. Michael distributed the last two five year plans that were issued in 2005 and 2010.

The Council discussed the format, issues, and methods of gaining public input. Mr. Michael also distributed a listing of reports required to be published by the CJJPD under Iowa Code chapter 216A.


Sarah Johnson, CJJPD, distributed information regarding criminal code legislation enacted in the 2014 Legislative Session. The Council discussed which items should be monitored.

Next Meeting.

The Council is scheduled to meet November 19, 2014. Additional information is available on the CJJPD website at: http://www.humanrights.iowa.gov/cjjp/cj_council.html

STAFF CONTACT: Beth Lenstra (515-281-6301)



The Public Safety Advisory Board met September 24, 2014, at the Oran Pape Building. The Board reviewed the draft report titled An Analysis of the Sex Offender Special Sentence in Iowa

(This document is still in draft form and not available online) prepared by staff at the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Division (CJJPD). It was noted that sex offenders have a very low rate of reoffending for sex offenses, and the cost of the special sentence is very high. Many of the revocations to prison for sex offenders are not for sex offenses. It appears the special sentence does not impact public safety. The Board indicated it would be useful to know what other states do in terms of sentencing sex offenders. The draft report will also be presented to the

Sex Offender Research Council when it meets September 30, 2014.

Juvenile Sentencing.

Mr. Steve Michael, Interim Director of the CJJPD, reviewed the Legal Update published by the Legislative Services Agency regarding juvenile mandatory minimum sentences. Currently under Iowa law, juveniles that commit certain acts are waived into adult court and sentenced as adults; depending upon the crime, the juvenile offender may be subject to a mandatory minimum term of confinement in a State prison. Both the federal and State court systems have made rulings regarding the imposition of long mandatory minimum sentences on juvenile offenders.


The Board reviewed issues for its December 2014 report, including sex offender sentencing, child kidnapping, sentencing of drug offenders, the sentencing structure for the crime of robbery, sentencing penalties for crack and powder cocaine, and juvenile issues.

Next Meeting.

The next Public Safety Advisory Board meeting is November 19, 2014. Additional information is available on the website at: http://www.humanrights.iowa.gov/cjjp/psab/index.html

STAFF CONTACT: Beth Lenstra (515-281-6301) beth.lenstra@legis.iowa.gov


The Board of Corrections met at the Luster Heights Prison Camp in Yellow River Forest State

Park on October 3, 2014. Warden John Fayram welcomed the Board and guests to the Camp; its operating budget is included in the General Fund appropriation for the Anamosa State Penitentiary. The Camp’s capacity is 88 beds while the population is 69 offenders.

Director’s Report.

Director John Baldwin indicated the Camp was closed twice in the past. It is important for the Department of Corrections (DOC) to manage its mission. The Camp is a minimum live-out facility and provides opportunities for offenders to re-enter the community.

The Director’s update included:

  • There were up to 400 pills discovered at the North Central Correctional Facility (NCCF) at Rockwell City. The contraband was transferred to the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). According to the DCI, it was not a controlled substance. Along with the pills, four cell phones were found. This is all contraband and the information has been turned over to the county attorney for potential prosecution. There are about 500 offenders housed at the NCCF and approximately 200 offenders are transported outside the perimeter fence daily for work crews and employment.
  • The DOC received a grant award from the National Governor’s Association for data sharing with Eyerly Ball in Des Moines through the Iowa Corrections Offender Network (ICON). The majority of the mental health treatment centers in Iowa use the same management information system as Eyerly Ball. Completing the ICON connection to Eyerly Ball will permit data sharing between the corrections and mental health systems.
  • Two pre-service training classes have been held. There is high staff turnover but the DOC is filling vacancies. The Department is committed to hiring more minorities.
  • Building 5 at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) at Mitchellville has been demolished. This building was very unstable. The footings have been poured for the Program Building. The new ICIW will be completely built by October 2015.
  • Professor Julie Stevens and her landscape architecture students at the Iowa State University (ISU) will be working with the new Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) at Fort Madison. They are starting design plans for landscape at the new prison.
  • The University of Iowa (UI) and ISU are both interested in keeping the old ISP in use. The universities, along with the DOC, are working with the City of Fort Madison to propose uses for the historic structures.
  • The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy received a $3.0 million grant award for three years under the federal Second Chance Act. The grant focuses on hiring policies, procedures, and practices as well as building community relationships for the DOC to reduce recidivism.
  • The DOC recently received a grant to enhance services for mentally ill women offenders. This grant ties in with the Eyerly Ball project.
  • The DOC is working with Canada on an Interstate Compact between the two countries. There is an offender at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility that is serving a life sentence. He is originally from Canada and wants to go back there. Under the terms of the Compact, Canada could release him from supervision. They may not do so, but the potential is there. The Iowa Department on Aging (IDA) developed a software package for local health care providers and social services agencies. The DOC would like to use that package in the ICON, but money is required.
  • The Director chairs the Mental Health Care subcommittee for the Association of State Corrections Administrators (ASCA). The Yale medical and law schools want to work with State departments of corrections to change administrative segregation, disciplinary detention, protected custody, and long-term confinement (also known as solitary confinement). These areas generate the most lawsuits, and offenders’ mental health status deteriorates quickly in solitary confinement. The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) facilitated discussions and training within the DOC in September to consider options to change how the DOC operates.
  • The FY 2016 and FY 2017 General Fund budget requests approved by the Board in September

2014 will not be entered into the state budget system. The Board will sign a letter requesting additional funds in priority order, contingent on funding being available.


Ms. Karen Herkelman, Director of the First Community-Based Corrections (CBC) District Department, presented information on the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program operating in Black Hawk and Dubuque counties. She also provided information on a Domestic Violence Court that started in FY 2014 in Black Hawk County with a grant from the Iowa Judicial Branch and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. There is a judge dedicated to the Program that conducts pleas and sentences, compliance hearings, violations of no contact order hearings, bond reductions and arraignments, pretrial conferences, and motions to lift or modify no contact orders. Staff from victim services agencies is available in the court room and the Parole/Probation Officer (PPO) is in court so the offender is signed up for probation at the time of sentencing NIC Update. Deputy Director Jerry Bartruff explained the process the NIC used to assist the DOC in developing options to reduce the length of stay in solitary confinement, and change the way offenders are treated that are in protected custody status. The goal is to reduce the use of Restricted Housing (RH) over time. The DOC needs to create housing units for mentally ill offenders at each of the Institutions. This may be done by converting existing segregation cells to housing units, but would require more treatment staff than is currently available.

ISP Archives.

Mr. Mark Fullencamp works for the University of Iowa. He is working with women offenders, the ISU and the UI, and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to digitize glass negatives of pictures of inmates. About 11,200 pictures have been converted to date. The group is working on creating an online archive to put the inmates’ stories with their picture. Once completed, it will be the only inmate archive in the country. The group is also working with the City of Fort Madison to use the old ISP as a business incubator. It is the oldest working prison west of the Mississippi River.

Luster Heights.

Staff from the Luster Heights Prison Camp described the types of substance abuse treatment available at the Camp. There is in-patient, out-patient, aftercare and relapse prevention available for offenders. There is also an anger management class as well as a drunken driving program.

The Camp uses Iowa Code chapter 28Eagreementswith local governments and nonprofit agencies for work crews. There is a wood working shop on grounds and a mentoring program through the Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque. A large percentage of offenders at the Camp return to the Dubuque area. Representative Ruff spoke to the advantage of having offender work crews for the City of McGregor. It provides work and life skills training for offenders and saves the city and tax payers money. The offenders also maintain large gardens; the produce is used by the Camp and significant donations are made to local food banks.

Public Comments.

Director Baldwin indicated that civilians are starting to be released from the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO) at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute (MHI). These civilians are supervised by the Department of Human Services (DHS) while at the Cherokee MHI. Under

Iowa Code chapter 229A, the CBC District Departments supervise these civilians when they transition back to the community. Treatment is required as a condition of release. Most of these people are transitioning back to small towns that have minimal treatment resources, but relatively low rent and more housing options. Urban areas may have more treatment resources but also have more restrictions on housing options for these civilians.

Board Discussion.

The Board requested an update on the new Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. Director Baldwin indicated he cannot assure the Board the buildings will be occupied before he retires in

January2015. There are multiple issues that are being fixed. There are nine small heat exchange systems for the geothermal mechanical system. The Commissioning Agent will be on site this week to conduct final testing of that system. The State Fire Marshal has not yet granted an occupancy permit due to issues with the smoke control system. The contractor believes that system is fixed. The DOC continues to work with the State Fire Marshal, Department of Administrative Services, and the contractors to determine a date for occupancy. The Office of the Attorney General is involved in this process as well.

Next Meeting.

The Board of Corrections is scheduled to meet November 7, 2014, at the DOC Central Office in Des Moines. Additional information is available from the DOC website at: http://www.doc.state.ia.us/ or by contacting the LSA.


Beth Lenstra (515-281-6301) beth.lenstra@legis.iowa.gov


Iowa Summit on Justice & Disparities


In 1995, Iowa faced a serious threat of reinstating capital punishment. It was an interesting year. What began as a monumental push from several legislators, thinking it was the key to winning campaigns, ended with a vote in the Iowa Senate that put the discussion away for years to come.

The issue has popped up again a couple of times since 1995, but not with the fervor or anticipation that it did during that period. There are numerous reasons why the death penalty has lost favor with many Americans. But unless we keep the flow of information current, and the desire to keep it from arising again with a lack of knowledge gained from the past, it will tend to creep back into campaign literature.

Iowans Against the Death Penalty is in the process of reorganizing. We need participants to help us regroup. If you are interested in being a part of this historic organization please contact Marty Ryan at mrtyryn@gmail.com

Selected links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/us/the-rise-of-the-swat-team-in-american-policing.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 The Rise of the SWAT Team in American Policing. “Retro Report” Haberman, Clyde. New York Times. SEPTEMBER 8, 2014.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/challenges-seen-in-prosecuting-police-for-use-of-deadly-force.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 Florida Prosecutors Face Long Odds When Police Use Lethal Force. Alvarez, Lizette. New York Times. SEPTEMBER 3, 2014.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/us/todays-police-put-on-a-gun-and-a-camera.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 Today’s Police Put On a Gun and a Camera. KIRK JOHNSON New York Times. SEPT. 27, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/us/california-voters-to-decide-on-sending-fewer-criminals-to-prison.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 California Voters to Decide on Sending Fewer Criminals to Prison. ERIK ECKHOLM New York Times. OCT. 5, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/us/a-plan-to-cut-costs-and-crime-curb-bias-against-ex-convicts.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0 A Plan to Cut Costs and Crime: End Hurdle to Job After Prison. TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and TANZINA VEGA New York Times. OCT. 23, 2014

Please help us with a generous contribution. Thanks!

I want to help Justice Reform Consortium with its goal of working toward restorative justice.

Here is my contribution of $________________________________

Submit your subscription payment to:

Jean Basinger

Justice Reform Consortium

c/o Trinity United Methodist Church

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Voices to be Heard is a support group for families and children of an incarcerated loved one. The group gathers to support and comfort those who know too well the grief that comes to those left behind when someone they love is incarcerated. The group meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Union Park Methodist Church (East 12th & Guthrie in Des Moines) from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

See the announcement earlier in this newsletter about Voices to be Heard’s annual Community Dinner (FREE) and Silent Auction on Tuesday, Nov. 18th.

The group brings in speakers, performs outreach, provide support groups and leadership classes. It is a good idea to contact Melissa ahead of time because the group provides dinner and a head count is preferred. Contact Melissa at 515/229-2645 for more information.


The next Friends of Iowa Women Prisoners meeting is at noon on Tues., November 18th at Wesley United Methodist Church, 800 East 12th in Des Moines.

MISSION: To bring together and inform individuals and groups concerned about women in the Iowa correctional system and to act on their behalf.

FIWP Mailing Address: Post Office Box 71272, Clive, IA 50325

Our November presenters will be Jane Hudson and another attorney from Iowa Disability Rights. They will share with us work they are doing with women at ICIW. They are eager to hear from our experience and contacts within the prison. Please bring any questions you have concerning their work with women with disabilities and mental illness.

Bring your lunch. The place and time are consistent throughout the year. The meetings are always held on the third Tuesday of the month, and always held from noon to 1:00 pm at Wesley United Methodist Church located at 800 East 12th Street in Des Moines. The location is a block west of East High School. Please contact Vi for more information.


Justice Reform Consortium member organizations: Iowa CURE & Iowa Coalition 4 Juvenile Justice; Friends of Iowa Women Prisoners; Trinity United Methodist Church; Methodist Federation for Social Action; Voices to be Heard; ACLU of Iowa; Social Action Committee, Des Moines Presbytery; Des Moines Chapter of WILPF; American Friends Service Committee; Plymouth Congregational Church, Board of Christian Social Action; Iowa Annual Conference, UMC; Iowa NOW and Des Moines NOW; National Association of Social Workers; Beacon of Life; Citizens for Undoing Racism-War on Drugs Task Force.

This newsletter published by:

Fawkes-Lee & Ryan, Public Policy Advocates http://iowappa.com/

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