2022 Quarter 2 | The Council of State Governments (CSG) | Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC)

MLC Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee Newsletter
Co-Chair North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones
Co-Chair Illinois Sen. Robert Peters
Vice Chair Nebraska Sen. John McCollister

Upcoming Events

*All times are Central Time

June 23:

Webinar: CSG Justice Center: Thinking Outside the Box Housing Webinar Series: Cross-Sector Strategies to Create Housing Opportunities for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving the Justice System - 1:00*

July 10-13:

76th Annual Meeting of the MLC - Wichita, KS

August 26-30:

CSG 2022 Henry Toll Fellowship - Lexington, KY

August 27-31:

27th Annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD) - Madison, WI

December 7-10:

2022 CSG National Conference - Honolulu, HI

Committee Happenings

Greetings again members of the MLC Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee. The 76th annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference is in less than a month! For those of you planning on joining us in lovely Wichita, Kansas, we hope you will enjoy the multiple criminal justice focused sessions we have in store.

On Sunday, July 10, we will be holding our CJPS committee business meeting. To kickoff the session, Carl Reynolds of the CSG Justice Center will give a presentation highlighting the center's work throughout the Midwest region, and provide an overview of emerging mental health strategies for justice-involved people. Following the presentation, members will have an opportunity to share in a roundtable discussion the latest criminal justice policy developments occurring in your states and provinces.

Then, on Tuesday, July 12, the CJPS Committee will be hosting a joint session with the MLC Health & Human Services Committee analyzing the role and benefits of "mental health courts" and their ability to divert people struggling with their mental health from incarceration.

The session will include interviews with the following panelists:

  • Flor Alvarado, Mental Health Court Clinician, Sedgwick County Offender Assessment Program, Kansas
  • Wenhan “Chris” Cheok, Mental Health Programmer, Sedgwick County COMCARE, Kansas
  • Kimberly Nelson, Regional Administrator (Region 7), U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Megan Quattlebaum, Director, The Council of State Governments Justice Center
  • The Honorable Evelyn Stratton, Former Justice, Ohio Supreme Court

To access the preliminary agenda for both sessions, click HERE

As a reminder, these sessions are open to all legislators and guests and not just official members of the CJPS Committee. Please feel free to encourage others to attend these informative sessions.

Also, for more information about the conference and how to register (there's still time!!) please click HERE or visit our website csgmidwest.org

CSG Justice Center Updates

In keeping with the theme of the upcoming annual conference session on mental health courts and mental health treatment for justice-involved individuals, a recent white paper published by the Justice Center offers suggestions and strategies for co-responder models in small and rural communities.

The publication "Mental Health Training: Strategies for Small and Rural Law Enforcement Agencies" promotes the importance of community partnerships, specialized training methods that take into account resource and time limitations, and the utilization of various funding opportunities.

The Justice Center — in partnership with the National Institute of Health's Heal Initiative, the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network's Coordination and Translation Center, and the Addiction Policy Forum — has also launched a free online course detailing the relationship that sometimes occurs between substance use disorders and the criminal justice system.

To take this approximately 30-minute course, click HERE

Finally, last month the Justice Center hosted a webinar in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide best practices on law enforcement interactions with homeless individuals. The session touched on the benefits of co-responder models and featured a live demonstration of the revised "BJA Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit". The session also featured testimony from mental health experts based in Wichita.

To watch a recording of the May webinar, click HERE

Criminal Justice News
ohio capitol -- Bryan Busovicki (dreamstime).jpg

Ohio Wants to Make Arming Teachers Easier

Only a few days after the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Ohio lawmakers passed legislation that will reduce the amount of firearm training needed for a teacher or school staff member to legally carry a firearm in a school building.

Currently, school personnel seeking to possess a firearm while on school grounds must undergo over 700 hours of training, equivalent to that of a peace officer. However, under HB 99, the Department of Public Safety would develop training curriculum for interested staff, with initial trainings taking less than 24 hours to complete. Individual school boards would be allowed to demand additional hours of training.

For more information, check out the linked article by the Columbus Dispatch.

'Prison Pandemic Papers' Highlight Some of the Struggles Canadian Correctional Facilities Faced During COVID

Through a joint collaboration between the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Centre for Access to Information and Justice, and the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project, the "Prison Pandemic Papers" report represents the end result of myriad FOIA requests of jails and prisons throughout Canada.

The collected documents showcase accounts of facilities struggling to secure necessary PPE supplies, navigating through staffing shortages, and a concentrated transition to releasing various offenders from detention in an attempt to mitigate the virus from spreading amongst congested holding cells.

Some of the report's creators hope the accounts will help policymakers better understand the extent the COVID-19 pandemic had on correctional facilities, and will motivate more of a transition to community-based rehabilitation.

For more information and to access the report's documents, check out the linked article by CTV News.

Iowa Lawmakers Add Criminal Charges to Elder Abuse

Before SF 522, elder abuse was a strictly civil offense in Iowa. Now, incidents of assault, theft, and financial exploitation will soon carry criminal charges  including fines and prison sentences of up to 25 years.

According to data reported by the Iowa Department of Human Services, between early-2020 and mid-2021, Iowa reported a 37% increase in cases of abuse against dependent adults. Additionally, the National Council on Aging states elder abuse affects at least 10% of people aged 60+ years. 

For more information, check out the linked article by the Des Moines Register.

New Provisions in Kansas Policing Standards Hope to Address Out-of-State Arrests and Hiring Deceptions

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training is pursing provisional changes to require Kansas law enforcement to self-report instances when they are arrested out-of-state. Officers would have 10 days to report to the Commission instances in which they were arrested or charged while traveling outside of Kansas.

Commission Executive Director Doug Schroeder told lawmakers there is currently not a widespread problem of officers being arrested while on, for example, vacation, but that there is a loophole that prevents requiring an officer to report an arrest to the Commission. The Commission is also looking to make another administrative change that would consider making a false or deceptive statement during the hiring process "unprofessional conduct". 

For more information, check out the linked article by the Topeka Capital-Journal.


Thank you for reading. Watch for the next edition in

September 2022.

Missed a newsletter? Past issues are archived on the committee's webpage.
Please do not reproduce or create new content from this material without the prior express written permission of CSG Midwest.
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