Dane County TimeBank Press Release 7.18.19

For immediate release:

As our community continues to have conversations around the role of School Resource Officers (SROs) in the Madison High Schools, and with Chief Koval recently releasing the Madison Police Department's (MPD) ticket and arrest data for the past four school years, https://tinyurl.com/yxa5ydj9, the Dane County TimeBank (DCTB) is publicly releasing our youth court data from 2008.09-2018.19 to increase transparency and broaden the conversation around police contact in schools.

Dane County TimeBank MMSD Youth Court Data 2008.09-2018.19:

https://danecountytimebank.org/sites/danecountytimebank.org/files/mmsd_total_data_presentation.pdf

The Dane County TimeBank partners with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) to provide community-based, youth-led restorative justice sessions (youth court) for youth at risk of receiving municipal citations (tickets) in the Madison High Schools. SROs can refer a student to youth court as an alternative to issuing a formal citation and requiring the child to go to municipal court. All high school students are eligible, regardless of age. When a student participates with the TimeBank, the incident is resolved through a youth-led restorative justice process, outside of the formal police and municipal court system. The TimeBank has partnered with MMSD since the 2008.09 school year and has had over 600 students go through restorative justice as an alternative to ticketing. 94% of students referred to youth court have successfully completed the process and avoided the formal system. In addition, the TimeBank has worked proactively with more than 1000 students, engaging youth in leadership development, civic engagement, and restorative justice process facilitation focusing on harm, healing, and support.

This data raises important questions, including:

  • What decisions are being made by whom and for whom as it relates to who gets formal tickets and who gets referred to youth court as an alternative? How are those decisions made?
  • When and how do officers get involved in incidents? 
  • How are tickets and arrests being monitored in real time to ensure that policies and procedures are being followed?
  • What concrete strategies are both MPD and MMSD using to address the disparities in ticketing and arrest in the schools? 
  • What are students being formally ticketed for?
  • What school-based supports and responses exist to address these incidents without involving law enforcement? 
These are questions that we all should be asking, as a community and as partners in this work, in order to get to our intended and shared goals. In order to make sound decisions, we need to look at the full picture of data and practice, particularly as we make data driven decisions.

In addition, the Dane County TimeBank would like to correct the inaccurate information that was printed in the Wisconsin State Journal in an article discussing the SRO contract with the Madison City Council. https://tinyurl.com/yyvpvhgx

The article states, "Assistant Police Chief John Patterson said every student given a ticket is offered the chance at restorative justice..." This is inaccurate.

Community restorative justice options for students given a formal municipal citation at school include:

  • Madison Youth Restorative Justice Initiative (Dane County TimeBank, YWCA, Briarpatch Youth Services): all youth between the ages of 12-16 at risk of receiving a municipal citation in the city of Madison are eligible and can opt in and participate in a restorative justice process as an alternative to arrest. https://www.danerestorativejustice.org/madison-police.html
  • Dane County Community Restorative Court (CRC): 17-25 year olds may be offered the opportunity to participate in the CRC's restorative process as an alternative to arrest. Participants are individually screened and selected to participate based on a set of criteria. https://crc.countyofdane.com
While 17 and 18 year old students receiving formal municipal tickets in the high schools may be eligible for the CRC, automatic access to participation does not occur.

As a community organization working to interrupt the cycle of harm and begin to shift towards healing, we welcome difficult conversations and critical analysis of the systems and decision making points that continue to produce our devastating disparities. To practice restorative justice we must tie it to racial justice. To be effective in reducing racial disparities and achieving transformational change, we must broaden our lens and shift from youth accountability to adult and system accountability. Everyone makes mistakes, the question is how do we want to address them.

"What constitutes a threat to safety is dangerously subjective when black children are involved. The criminalization of black children has extended into our schools, disrupting one of the most important protective factors in a child's life: their education." - Monique Morris

 

Press Contact:

Lorrie Hurckes Dwyer, Executive Director, Dane County TimeBank

lorrie@danecountytimebank.org

1202 Williamson St, Suite 107, Madison, WI 53703

608.663.0400 office, 608.819.0734 cell

 

Posted Jul. 18, 2019 by Lorrie Hurckes Dwyer