CALL held its September business meeting on September 18, 2014 at Pazzo’s, 311 S. Wacker.
President Margaret Schilt opened the meeting at noon. She thanked the co-chairs of the Meetings Committee, Jesse Bowman and Beth Schubert for picking a new venue for our meeting. Margaret then welcomed several new CALL members:
- Laura Schaeffer, Locke Lord
- Clanitra Stewart, Northern Illinois University
- Gregory Cunningham, John Marshall Law School
- Victor Salas, John Marshall Law School
- Erin Orozco, Compass Lexicon
- James Driscoll, Northwestern University
- Kaitlin Gaffney, Northwestern University
- Jennifer Lubejko, Northwestern University
- Miriam Heard, Northwestern University
- Jeff Sumner, Northwestern University
- Heather Hummons, DePaul University
Those who were present stood to be recognized and welcomed.
Sarah Keefer, PLI’s manager of library relations, encouraged the members present to stop by her table to learn more about Discover Plus, PLI’s ebook library which contains treatises, course handbooks, answer books, legal forms and program transcripts.
She noted that Discover Plus was named AALL’s new product of the year last year. She added that she was happy to set up trial access including trials for larger or smaller groups within an institution.
Meeting Speaker: Elizabeth Clarke
Julie then introduced our Business Meeting speaker, Elizabeth Clarke, President and Founder of Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI), who spoke on “Policy Trends Affecting Juvenile Justice.”
Julie noted that, prior to developing JJI, Ms. Clarke served as Juvenile Justice Counsel for the Office of the Cook County Public Defender for six years, and served for 15 years in the Office of the State Appellate Defender, including appointments as Legislative Liaison and Juvenile Justice Coordinator.
Julie explained that JJI began in 2000 with a mission “to transform the juvenile justice system in Illinois by reducing reliance on confinement, enhancing fairness for all youth, and developing a comprehensive continuum of community-based resources throughout the state.”
Ms. Clarke started her talk by acknowledging the Chicago legal community’s support for the JJI, emphasizing that JJI does not take any government funds.
Different Treatment for Juveniles
Ms. Clarke then spoke about JJI’s core value that youth are different from adults and should receive individual treatment. She noted that Illinois recently raised the age for juvenile court from 17 years old to 18 years old. She noted that senior year high school pranks could be very serious if the accused is tried as adult.
Ms. Clarke added that there are serious problems with trying juveniles in adult court. She said that Illinois automatically tries a handful of juveniles in adult court every year when they are charged with certain offenses. She noted that over half of those who end up in adult court end up pleading guilty to a lesser offense that would not have triggered the transfer to adult court.
She added that too many accused juveniles lack counsel. She said that JJI is working on having counsel present at the police station. She said that First Defense Legal Aid has volunteers in Chicago to be on call for people at the police station, but that they report problems getting through and helping children in those situations. She added that the United Kingdom has had attorneys at police stations for years, and noted that trying juveniles in adult court violates international law.
Ms. Clarke then discussed JJI’s opposition to racism in the juvenile justice system. She noted that in 1991 black males were 4% of the total population of Illinois, but 60% of the jail and prison population. She said that the disparity has gotten worse since 1991. She told some anecdotes about officials from other countries visiting the local facility and asking to see the prison for the white children.
On a related issue, Ms. Clarke told the group about the problem of mass incarceration. She noted that the National Academy of Sciences released a report in spring 2014 stating that the United States should significantly decrease the rate of incarceration, which has quadrupled since 1972.
She said that the large number of people in prison in the United States is unprecedented in U.S. history and internationally. Ms. Clarke stated that the increase in mass incarceration is due to the politicization of crime, longer sentences and mandatory minimums, and the drug war.
She noted that the National Academy of Sciences concluded that there may have been an impact on crime, but that it is not noticeable nor does it outweigh the negative impact of mass incarceration on society. Ms. Clarke stated that a black, male, high school dropout born in the 1940’s had a 15% chance of going to prison and a similar man born in late 1970’s has a 68% chance spending year or more in prison.
She noted that this causes some hidden problems for society stating that 2 million kids with a parent in prison, a former inmate’s earnings are lower on release from prison, and communities are impacted when there are few gainfully employed males.
Bringing her remarks back to juvenile justice, Ms. Clarke stated that incarceration should be used for juveniles as a last resort and for the shortest time possible. She said that Illinois is moving in that direction. She also noted a related problem with what she called the “school to prison pipeline” in which students are expelled from school because of zero tolerance policies and end up in prison. She noted that high schools in Chicago are turning to restorative justice, which focuses on making restitution and mediation.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Ms. Clarke finished her talk by discussing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the multilateral treaty on children’s rights which has been ratified by 190 United Nations member countries with the notable exceptions of the United States, Somalia, and South Sudan. She said that the Convention provides for many of the juvenile justice reforms that her organization works toward.
She told the members present to encourage their senators to ratify the convention and pointed everyone to childrightscampaign.org for information on the campaign for U.S. ratification. She also encouraged people at law schools to talk about the Convention because it is not taught in the U.S. the way that it is overseas.
Questions from Members
Ms. Clarke then took questions from the members present. One member asked how big JJI is. Ms. Clarke answered that they have never had more than three or four staff members, but said that they have an “incredible” board of almost 30 members from law schools and law firms.
Another member asked what happens to an incarcerated juvenile when he or she turns 18 years old. She answered that the person leaves under federal court monitoring and are essentially on parole until age 21 and can end up in jail if they violate the conditions of their release.
Margaret Schilt then thanked the speaker for an “illuminating discussion.”
Several committees made announcements. Eugene Guidice, co-chair of the Mentorship & Leadership Development committee told the members that his committee is looking for people who want a mentor and people who want to serve as a mentor. He encouraged potential mentors and mentees to think about their skills and interests broadly and not to focus on “hard skills” or only focus on skills and interests related to librarianship. Eugene also added that the Committee will create informal meet ups every month. He reported that the next meet up will be on October 7th at Local 22 at 22 E. Hubbard.
Scott Vanderlin, co-chair of the Continuing Education Committee and member of the Public Relations Committee, spoke on behalf of both committees. On behalf of the Public Relations Committee, Scott reported that CALL won an award for Excellence in Marketing for its 2013 exhibit hall display.
He also mentioned that he brought the 2014 exhibit hall display, a Guess Who-style game to learn about CALL members, to the Business Meeting for the members to see.
Scott then reminded the members that the Continuing Education Committee sent out a survey recently about programming options. He encouraged the members to fill out the survey because it allows the Committee to make programs that better suit the members.
Jessie LeMar, co-chair of the Community Service Committee, then announced that the Committee is collecting monetary donations to benefit Blessings in a Backpack, which provides food to elementary school children who are in households under the poverty line.
She added that in-kind donations will be made to Chicago Hopes, which provides housing and assistance to Chicago Public School students in temporary housing situations. She also announced that her committee has a survey coming out in the coming weeks to ask members about volunteer opportunities and events outside of CALL business meetings.
Margaret then made some announcements. She reminded those present, on behalf of Therese Arado, that there is still time to register for the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries meeting in Chicago October 5-7 at the John Marshall Law School and the Standard Club. Margaret said that there is still time to register and noted that single day and partial day registration is available. Margaret next announced that the next CALL Business Meeting will be November 20, 2014 at the Tortoise Club, 350 N. State St, and the speaker will be Prof. Lori Andrews from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Slate for 2015-2016 CALL Executive Board
Margaret then announced the slate of candidates for the CALL Executive Board for 2015.
The candidates are:
- Vice-President/President Elect
- Todd Ito, University of Chicago
- Joe Mitzenmacher, Loyola University
- Diana Koppang, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
- Eugene Giudice, Latham & Watkins
- Kara Young, Northwestern University
- Konya Lafferty, Illinois Supreme Court Library.
Margaret noted that the CALL election will open on Friday, February 13, 2015. She thanked the members of the Nomination and Election Committee: Kathleen Bruner, Denise Glynn, Barry Herbert, Heidi Kuehl, Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Susan Retzer, and the chair of the committee, JoAnn Hounshell.
The Business Meeting adjourned at 1:21pm.