City and County launch listening circles to identify gaps in || Criminal attorney

City and County launch listening circles to identify gaps in

The City of Flagstaff’s Indigenous Initiatives Committee and the Coconino County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council are working to compile a report designed to help local leaders in criminal justice and law enforcement better serve Indigenous community members.

The report will contain feedback from Native American community members who have had law enforcement involvement, including data and anecdotes gathered from personal stories, to find out where the system is succeeding and where it’s failing Indigenous people.

“More than 27% of the county’s residents are Indigenous and the entire system needs to make sure their needs are met — whether they’re cultural, linguistic or otherwise,” said Mike Jackiewicz, director for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC).

The CJCC is a partnership between the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County, designed to be an information-sharing and problem-solving body.

People are also reading…

50){ window.document.addEventListener(‘TownnewsSegmentLoaded’, function(oEvent) { var recClient = new recombee.ApiClient(‘townnews-content-dev’, ‘wgAnu6i2YL3YtcezKU7o8q9eWRCzqs83YeHyN6qQ19G40HbIkwijFRq0WpIrRNKo’, {region: ‘us-west’}); var sUserID = ||; //recClient.send(new recombee.AddDetailView(sUserID, ‘ca2a43b2-ded8-11ed-acff-d7ead5240e8b’)); recClient.send(new recombee.RecommendItemsToItem(‘ca2a43b2-ded8-11ed-acff-d7ead5240e8b’, sUserID, 4, { returnProperties: true, includedProperties: [‘contentType’, ‘title’,’url’,’canonicalUrl’,’previewImages’], filter: “‘hostname’ == “” AND ‘contentType’ == “article” AND ‘url’ != NULL AND ‘previewImages’ != NULL “, scenario: ‘read-next’ }), function(oErr, oData) { if(oErr){ __tnt.log(‘Rec Error: ‘, oErr); return; } var iCount = 0; var sHTML = ”; if(oData.recomms.length > 0){ var recID = oData.recommId; $.each(oData.recomms, function(i, oData){ sHTML += ‘

  • ‘+oData.values.title+”; }); $(‘#inline-article-recommend-title’).html(‘Recommended for you…’); $(‘#inline-article-recommend-items’).html(sHTML); __tnt.trackEvent({ ‘category’: ‘recommendations’, ‘action’: ‘ml-loaded’, ‘label’: ‘asset’, ‘value’: 1 }); } }); }); } else { __tnt.trackEvent({ ‘category’: ‘recommendations’, ‘action’: ‘mp-loaded’, ‘label’: ‘asset’, ‘value’: 1 }); } } catch(e){ __tnt.log(e); } }); ]]>
  • The presiding judge of Coconino County Superior Court, the City of Flagstaff Municipal Court presiding judge, the Coconino County sheriff, Flagstaff’s chief of police, the Coconino County attorney and the City of Flagstaff prosecutor are all CJCC members.

    “They formally get together, share, collaborate and work on ways to improve the justice system and make the community a better place,” Jackiewicz said. “A big priority with CJCC is ensuring that Indigenous community members have a system that’s responsive to their needs.”

    The CJCC was initially formed when the Coconino County Detention Facility recognized the jail population was growing. The body set to work studying the judicial and criminal justice system in northern Arizona to find out why more people were being incarcerated and craft policies to address the issue.

    Today, they’re not just focused on improvements at the jail; CJCC looks at ways to improve public safety and criminal justice as a whole.

    Meanwhile, in 2016 and 2017 a grassroots effort began to encourage the city and county to better address issues Indigenous people face. Groups like the Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff appealed to Flagstaff City Council, recommending that a position be created to bridge the gap between the needs of the Indigenous community and official policies pertaining to wellness, public safety, criminal justice and more.

    That’s why Rose Toehe’s job was created.

    Today, she’s the City of Flagstaff’s coordinator for Indigenous Initiatives and the chair of a subcommittee within CJCC that was created to bring certain perspectives to the forefront. As interest grew among county and city leaders in ensuring equity for Native American community members in the justice system, the idea of listening circles take shape. 

    Listening circles are designed to feel culturally familiar — a blend of Western listening sessions and Indigenous talking circles.

    Listening Circles

    From left, Mike Jackiewicz, Tom Eberly, Holly Figueroa, facilitator Rose Toehe and Aimee Wickma help provide a tool for sharing stories as they take part in a recent listening circle in Page. During sessions, facilitators learn about the community’s experience with law enforcement and criminal justice.

    Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, courtesy

    “Most Indigenous people know what a talking circle is. It’s where you kind of share about your life some of the things you’re dealing with and get help that way through a talking circle, because other people can relate and also might be able to provide solutions,” Toehe explained. “It’s usually a safe place to go to talk about one’s situation, whatever it may be.”

    A small team of facilitators, including Toehe and Jackiewicz hosted listening circle sessions at the Aquaplex in Flagstaff, St. Jude’s Church in Tuba City and the public library in Page.

    “We wanted to hear directly from community members on their experiences and ways from them that we can both improve their experience with the justice system as well as reduce their experience,” Jackiewicz said. “We were very intentional at trying to keep away from justice-related facilities. We didn’t want to hold them in the jail or the courthouse or even really county buildings.”

    In all three places, participants were encouraged to share their stories, explain how the system helped them or offer critiques.

    The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce crime by discovering why and how Indigenous people end up in the system and how they’re treated on the inside.

    “Why are they just stuck in the system, for what reason? We’re trying to uncover all those things and see how the leadership can hear about that and be able to respond to it,” Toehe said.

    Criminal justice involvement, for the purpose of these listening circles, was a broad term. Facilitators wanted to hear from folks who had been pulled over in traffic stops as well as people who had been arrested, incarcerated, or placed on parole or probation.

    “We also had a lot of family members that came and had powerful stories to share — individuals who are directly affected by the justice system either themselves or through their relationships with their family and friends,” Jackiewicz said.

    The information gathered in listening circles is designed to be shared with people who work “on the ground” in law enforcement and the court system in particular. That’s one of the reasons why the final report will go to the CJCC.

    “My big takeaway is we need to hear more from the community, and it’s incredibly valuable. I was deeply affected by the stories that we heard,” Jackiewicz said. “I’m for making this a more regular activity to help inform the leaders who are coming up with the policies and the leaders who are running agencies. We need to hear from the folks. This was a great first step for that. We’re really looking forward to digging in as a committee, to compiling the feedback and putting together that report that we’ll send to the CJCC and that we will make public as well.”

    The formal report for the CJCC is expected to be completed by mid-summer.

    Jackiewicz said a team is working to pull out themes and identify shared experiences, while “reviewing the notes and ensuring we’re accurately representing the community members who were brave and vulnerable enough to share their stories.”

    Toehe and Jackiewicz both said they want to share the information from recent listening circles with leaders who can make changes inside the system, but they also want to report to the communities that shared their experiences in the first place.

    “We’re on the hook. We told everyone I talked to there that we were coming back to talk about the things that are being done, the things that aren’t being done,” Jackiewicz said. “It’s important to us [at CJCC] that we’re bringing information back. It’s not just information gathering; it does translate back to action.”

    Information sharing has to go both ways for the project to work properly, Toehe said.

    “I think that was a really good plus for people to hear. We’re not just taking information, but we’re coming back to update you on the things. That was probably our only promise, that we will come back and share,” she said. “[That’s important] especially for Indigenous people. People have gone and taken information or done research and nothing’s ever been reported back to them as an update.”

    Toehe said the first round of listening circles are just a starting point. It’s likely, she said, that more listening circles will be fostered by the city and CJCC in the future.

    Sierra Ferguson can be reached at


    Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

    Get the latest in local public safety news with this weekly email.

    ‘ +; $(‘#pu-btn-crime-email-article’).attr(‘disabled’, false); } else if(result.subscribed) { $(‘#email-success-crime-email-article’).html(‘Thank you!
    ‘ + + ‘ has been subscribed.’).fadeIn(); $(‘#pu-email-form-crime-email-article .pu-form’).fadeOut(); Cookies.set(‘lee_pu_notify’, ‘true’, {path:’/’}); __tnt.trackEvent({ ‘category’: ‘newsletter-widget’, ‘action’: ‘submit’, ‘label’: ‘crime-email-article’, ‘value’: 1 }); } }).fail(function(){ $(‘#email-error-crime-email-article’).html(‘An error occured.
    Please try again later’).fadeIn(); $(‘#pu-btn-crime-email-article’).attr(‘disabled’, false); }); }); }); e.preventDefault(); } return false; }); }); ]]>

    City and County launch listening circles to identify gaps in

    Listening circles for the Indigenous community launched to help identify justice system gaps.

    If you have any question please CONTACT  Us Email us at: Call US :(281) 697-4550
    Don’t Forget to Visit our Our Services 


    For reliable and quality Managed IT Services and VoIP, Contact Precise Business Solutions