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Release: Oct. 29, 2002

(Editors: Journalists interested in attending all or part of the conference or interviewing speakers should contact Miriam Landsman, 319/335-1257)

UI School of Social Work hosts conference on juvenile minority incarceration

Eight percent of Iowa youth are minorities, yet minorities represent 33 percent of juveniles held in Iowa detention facilities. A statewide conference sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Social Work's National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (NRCFCP) will focus on the causes of and solutions for disproportionate minority confinement Nov. 7 and 8 at the Adventureland Inn in Altoona.

More than 200 people are expected to attend the two-day conference, "Investing in Iowa's Youth, Investing in Iowa's Future," which is designed to examine the issues, explore potential solutions, learn about current efforts to reduce disproportionate minority confinement, and provide resources to those interested in addressing this problem in their own communities.

"This is a unique opportunity for people across the state to meet together to discuss the issue of disproportionate minority confinement and develop strategies to change communities' responses to juvenile offenders," said Miriam Landsman, UI assistant professor of social work, NRCFCP executive director.

Among the featured conference speakers are Judge Ernestine Gray, president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; William Feyerherm, a Portland State University researcher on disparities within the juvenile justice system; and Heidi Hsia, from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Washington, D.C.

The conference also features 14 workshops on topics ranging from judicial solutions to reducing minority confinement to cultural identity and recruiting diverse staff.

"This conference will bring together those who can help reduce the number of youth who are confined in Iowa's juvenile and adult facilities," said Brad Richardson, project director for the Disproportionate Minority Confinement Resource Center. "Both system and individual factors are responsible so we need input from those working in the system and community members who work with youth in other ways."

In addition to Landsman, UI participants include: John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, training and technical assistance director for NRCFCP and for the Institute for the Support of Latino/a Families and Communities; Diane Finnerty, diversity resources coordinator for the UI Office of Affirmative Action, and adjunct faculty in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business; Patricia Parker, a training associate at the NRCFCP; Salome Raheim, director of the UI School of Social Work; Brad Richardson, Ph.D., associate research scientist at the NRCFCP, adjunct associate professor of social work, and project director for the Disproportionate Minority Confinement Resource Center.

The conference is a project of the Disproportionate Minority Confinement Resource Center in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences School of Social Work. It is supported with funding from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning, Iowa’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council, and the UI School of Social Work. A complete conference schedule is available online For more information about the center, go to