On Wednesday night, the Davenport City Council unanimously approved a resolution that opposes plans to redevelop a site at West 4th and Warren Streets for a new, larger Scott County Juvenile Detention Center.
The council, Mayor Mike Matson said after the meeting, is “concerned there wasn’t any dialogue, any conversations about where this (juvenile detention center) goes, so they wanted to go on record and say we’d rather have it somewhere else, and we asked for conversations to work toward a different location.”
Matson said the resolution “is asking Scott County … to consider another location than where they’re considering now … there is dialogue going on.”
“I believe that this unanimous resolution by the Davenport City Council is sending a clear message that certainly the people of Davenport, and I believe the majority of the people of Scott County, are looking for a more open process,” Scott County Supervisor Ken Croken said after the meeting.
“We’re talking about a project that is going to burden taxpayers further, creating a $25 million transaction for the county, that has not been properly vetted by the public,” he said.
“Time for backroom dealing is done,” Croken said. “We need to have an open conversation to find the solutions to the real problem here of juvenile crime.”
“If we could arrest and jail our way to public safety, it would have worked by now,” Croken said. “We need to find ways that are going to help restore our youthful offenders to productive lives.”
Earlier, Iowa’s NAACP leadership joined together to discuss with the public why they feel a new youth detention center in Scott County would be harmful. Speakers at a press conference, which took place at Davenport’s MLK Interpretative Center, discussed the disproportionate incarceration of young people of color in the state of Iowa.
Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews, who visited the Quad Cities from Des Moines, used the time to call for systemic change in the criminal justice system as a whole.