September 16, 2014


Tuesday, September 16,  2014
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Wesley United Methodist Church
800 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50316-4304
Brown Bag Lunch

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To bring together and inform individuals and groups concerned about women in the Iowa correctional system and to act on their behalf.


ICIW Report – Warden Patti Wachtendorf or ICIW Representative
Fresh Start – Peggy Urtz
Treasurer – Rosemary Jungmann

We welcome Jim Pemble, faithful attender at our meetings, to lead us through an AMOS House meeting. The Rev. Jim Pemble served as a United Methodist Minister before his retirement 12 years ago. Since retirement he served 8 years as chair of the Iowa Conference Standing Committee on Restorative Justice. He was a member when the Women at the Well congregation was established at ICIW and currently serves on their Outside Council.

Jim became involved in Voices to Be Heard as a result of Restorative Justice work. He helped develop the connections for Camp Hope – a United Methodist camp for children who have someone in their family in prison.

He has worked on various AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) committees and a few of the issues including: Youth and Education, mental health, regional skate park, sales tax for education, immigrant driver’s licenses, disproportionate arrests in schools of minorities, governor’s task force on youth incarceration.

The AMOS House Meeting concept is based on discussing: What social justice issue keeps you awake at night? What injustice personally impacts you and your family? What pressures do you face daily? You meet with roughly 10 others for 45 minutes to an hour. This is the only method AMOS uses to identify the issues for which it will advocate.

In August we welcomed Teresa Bomhoff, chairperson of the Iowa Mental Health Planning Council and President of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Greater Des Moines. Teresa opened her program with a report on the new Crisis Observation Center, a 24 hour, 5 chair facility that opened this summer in the Central Iowa Homeless Shelter building. In the first month 40-45 patients were seen, the average stay was 5 hours. Karen Crammond is the Director. The overall plan includes the addition of Crisis Residences, run by peers, occupancy 4 persons each. COC services are funded through Polk County Health Services and administered through Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health Services. The COC phone number is 515-564-5472.

Teresa spoke early in our meeting so she could return to an AMOS meeting, to which she invited us to last part of the meeting which was an AMOS House Meeting Training. After some discussion it was decided that Jim Pemble would lead us through the training at our September meeting . The House meetings described above.

As usual Teresa had great comprehensive handouts. They included: History and Next Steps for Adult Mental Health System Redesign in Iowa (covering Legislative sessions 2011-2015), NAMI Greater DM Public Policy Platform adopted by the board on 8/13/14, League of Women Voters MH Legislative priority #1.

She encouraged us to attend the AMOS Fall Action Summit, Monday, Oct.20, 7pm at 1st Christian Church, 25th & University. The Governor and Legislative candidates are invited.

Peggy Urtz reported that the Fresh Start Center is full and now has only a 1 ½ month wait. They are excited about: a new partnership with Iowa Workforce Development that provides classes in computers, resume writing and job search. They also have Mental Health diagnosis, meds and one to one counseling. Peggy toured the new prison with the Therapeutic Community Advisory Board. The 5th DOC District is in the process of hiring residential officers. Applications may be made on the DOC website.

Jean Basinger informed us about the high cost of inmate phone calls, which in the last three years profits totaled $350,000. Profits have been used for education and the cost operating the phone system which is not in accord with Federal Guidelines.

Terry Walker reported on the status of the shackling article. She will talk with Senator Janet Peterson regarding the best time to submit it to the Des Moines Register.

Our October presenter will be Bonnie J. Campbell, who served as Iowa’s Attorney General from 1990-1994. She is the only woman to have held that office. While in office she strengthened Iowa’s domestic violence laws, increased funding for victim compensation programs and shelters, and wrote what became a model statute on anti-stalking for states around the country.

In 1995 she was selected by Pres. Bill Clinton to head the Justice Department’s newly-created Office on Violence Against Women, she emerged as a national leader for her work to bring victim-rights reform to the country’s criminal justice system.

She was chosen to serve on the President’s Interagency Council on Women, chaired by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1996 and subsequently appointed by Sec. of State Madeleine Albright to represent the US in international negotiations on the creation of an International Criminal Court. She was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 and has been a leading spokesperson on international human rights issues ever since.

Bonnie’s legal practice today focuses on providing crisis management counseling to businesses confronted with highly visible legal matters as they attempt to deal with the public, the media and an array of government agencies.

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