As 2020 ends, I want to reflect on ICARE initiatives that positively affected the lives of Jacksonville residents this past year.
- Hundreds of Duval County youths, and thousands statewide, have received Civil Citations instead of being arrested for common youthful offenses. Civil Citations require the youths to participate in restorative justice programs that include writing an apology to the victim(s) of their actions, counseling, and community service. The recidivism rate for recipients of Civil Citations is under 4% compared to about 25% for youths who are arrested. And with a Civil Citation, youths can still look forward to many careers that are closed to people who have been arrested.
- After ICARE piloted a Homeless Day Resource Center for two years, Sulzbacher established that kind of center on a permanent basis. This gives homeless people access to resources including job preparation and placement, a place to take a shower and do laundry, a mailing address, and incidental supports that accrue from being part of an organized community.
- Both Sheriff Williams and State Attorney Nelson have greatly increased the accessibility of information about arrests, prosecutions, police misconduct, and additional topic on their websites. State Attorney Nelson is working with Florida International University to create what may become a national model for transparency in a State Attorney’s office.
- At the November Community Problems Assembly, Sheriff Williams committed to work out a plan for a large number of JSO officers to receive accredited, 40-hour, Crisis Intervention Team training. This training gives police officers many tools for deescalating situations without using violence and benefits everyone.
- Also at the November Community Problems Assembly, State Attorney Nelson agreed to work with ICARE toward the creation of an Adult Civil Citation initiative for offenses related to non-payment of fines and fees, mental health, and PTSD situations. This kind of initiative is allowed by the state law that ICARE and its ten sister organizations in Florida got passed two years ago.
BBUUC’s ICARE Justice Ministry Network annual meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 25, 7:00 to 8:30 PM. For more information email ICARE@bbuuc.org.
<<< ICARE is an antiracist organization in the tradition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. >>>