October 2-PAC report: Restorative Justice

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 by Emilie Quast.  15 people attending.

The October speakers were Tina Sigel and Alexander Quanbeck from Restorative Justice.  This is the 20th Anniversary year for Restorative Justice Community Action (RJCA); the organization has been working with the MPD Second Precinct since 2003.

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victim, the offender, and the community, instead of laws.  In our current criminal justice system, a crime is considered an act against the state and laws are broken.  In contrast, Restorative Justice regards a crime a an act against another person or community in which relationships are broken.  It holds an offender accountable, and requires them to take responsibility for the harm they have done and to find ways to make amends to victims and the community.

The program:  RJCA uses a restorative justice process called “community conferencing.”  A person who has done harm sits in a circle with community members in the area where the offense occurred.  The participant shares his story of what happened and who he feels his actions have impacted.  Next the community members relate how they are impacted by the offense, both personally and as a voice of the community.  Then, together, they create an agreement for the participant to make amends. The agreement could include an apology, community service, or other possible elements that would help repair the harm.  The goal is to agree upon an action that will make things right with community, with persons affected by one person’s wrong behavior, and how the participant can make things right with himself.

RJCA works with adults and youth in Minneapolis,  and elsewhere in Hennepin County and in Ramsey County.  RJCA works with Drug Court, low level felony and misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor offenses.  System partners include Hennepin and Ramsey County Attorney’s Offices, Minneapolis and St. Paul City Attorney’s Offices, Minneapolis Police Dept. and Juvenile Division, among others.

QUESTION: Is this for first time offenders or for anyone. ANSWER:  First time offenders typically, if it’s a low level  offense..  As long as they haven’t done anything in the last two years, they are eligible for our program.  In addition to this work,

If there is a criminal charge, they may be eligible for this option if they choose to do it. This is not an “easy-out”.  It doesn’t let people off the hook just because they are not going through the court system.  They will meet people and talk about something that they may be  really embarrassed or ashamed about.  It takes a lot of courage to face that;  in contrast, if you go to court, you just pay a fee/fine, and it’s done.  With RJCA, the participants face what they have done and get feedback on how it has  impacted others.

QUESTION:  Does this get the charge expunged from a participant’s record?  RJCA program will get it dismissed but not expunged. They have to go through a different process for expungement.

Drug court process:  We come in toward the end of the drug court process.  They’re sharing their perspective with community, not just people they know.   It’s an open dialog.   You learn about other people’s experiences.  People are more than what they have done; they have stories and this process helps fill in that information.  It helps community members also, learning the back story is as much for the participants as it is for the community members.

The Interact Program:  A program with the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office called Interact: someone who is charged with obstructing police activities.  The participant sits down with a lieutenant from the Police Dept. to talk about what happened and to hear each other’s perspective.
QUESTION: Do they come back? Do they commit another crime? We don’t track recidivism rates, but there re studies that do suggest the Restorative Justice can reduce recidivism.   Last year, the 2nd Pct had 117 cases, 107 from U of MN.  Success rates: in the 2nd Pct: 96.2%. Typical offenses are minor consumption, public urination, social host.  A benefit of doing a community conference is you learn you do have an impact on the people living near you who aren’t students.  The volunteers who come to the conferences tend to be people who want to connect with the students in their community.  The circle meeting tends to extend the students’  connection to their community and that makes a huge difference to students’ behavior as they go forward. It’s estimated the value of student Community Service in a year is about $16,800, valued at about $26 /hour.  Restorative Justice tends to find work for participants that taps into the people’s/students’ skills and values.

Sentence To Serve program is not part of RJCA, but it’s an alternative to RJCA.  Obviously picking up trash on the highway is a valuable service, but it doesn’t connect you with your community.

There are RJ partners in the community that work specifically in schools.

QUESTION: How many youth participants are there? RJCA closed approximately 145 youth cases last year.

All our interns: social work interns are all working on youth cases.
RJCA is always looking for more facilitators and for community members to participate in the conferences. Volunteers live throughout the city and out in the suburbs, including Minnetonka, the Brooklyns, South and North Minneapolis.    If interested please contact us at info@rjca-inc.org, or call 612.746.0789

Additional note:In addition to the work outlined above, RJCA holds monthly community conversations on Implicit Bias at various locations in the area.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.  For more information, please contact RJCA at 612.746.0780. They have offered to hold one of these conversations in the Second Precinct.  [Let Emilie know if you are interested in attending]


COURTWATCH: Judi Cole, Hennepin County Atty’s Office:

Richard Breen: Pre-trial hearing scheduled for 10-19 for his theft in Marcy-Holmes. He also has a loitering with open bottle charge.

Cody Corbin: Is in custody for violation of a no-contact order and has a 10-23 hearing. He had a stay of imposition but the violation may have impacted that.

Jason Enrico: Convicted in July & sentenced to 13 months, stayed 3 years, probation until 7-14-20, must complete treatment, remain law-abiding, contact probation and notify of any change.

Hussein Farah: Omnibus hearing on 10-11 for Criminal sex conduct (2 in July, strangers in the same bldg, diff. days) and drug possession (5-15)

Kevin Foster:   Convicted on 6-15 for 1st degree property damage, but given a stay of imposition over the State’s objection based on prior convictions (13) and prior arrests (31).  Is on supervised probation until 6-5-20.

Johnny Hall: Complaint warrant issued on 2-10-17, bench warrant on 2-13-17 still at large.

Steven Haney: 11-6-17 Jury trial on 1st degree drug sale and has sentencing the same day for a diff. 1st degree drug sale.

Daniel Heacock.  10-18-17 Met bail and was released.  Found incompetent but not so bad that he can be committed, since then has gotten 3 more misdemeanors.  6 month review of previous offenses.  If he’s found incompetent on a misdem. it is dismissed.  (Not true of gross misd. or felonies)  Not a danger or himself or others and is just out and waiting for the next hearing.

Paula Heille: Failed to appear for 10-09 omnibus hearing (re: 5th degree drug possession)  and now has a bench warrant.

Bryan Holmes: 10-11 Pretrial for two misdemeanors.

Mahad Ismail: Convicted on 7-19; failure to appear at ACF and a warrant was issued on 8-31.

Curtis Laroque: Convicted on 11-4, 305 days stayed for 2 years, probation to 11-4-18

Kenneth Nelson:  10-9 hearing on 3 felonies, not updated before PAC.

Joshua Poplawski: Sentenced on 6-1-17 on 5th degree drug possession, probation violation hearing on 9-15, released to “sober housing” treatment center.

Ashley Sage: 10-11 review hearing, she’s been doing well in the program.’

Robert Schroeder: Bench warrant issued 7-12-17

Michael Zaccardi: 10-10 arraignment for damage to property. He has a new probation officer but hasn’t met yet. He also has mental health issues but is not eligible for commitment. After a question from an attender, the probation officer outlined some of the options that are possibly open to Mr. Zaccardi (there are options for him!).  He is homeless at this point, and that is not an impossible obstacle for him.


Dae Nisell: has moved out of the Second Precinct.  Voted to remove him from our watch list.


NEW BUSINESS:  Next month will be a speaker on the new MPD program on Implicit Bias.

Next month we will also begin planning our December 24 Thank you meal for first responders.  There will be a separate call for volunteers and meeting announcements.


Meeting adjourned.


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