The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a detention reform and juvenile justice system improvement initiative that has demonstrated over 20 years, in urban and rural jurisdictions, that moving low-risk youth from secure detention into community-based alternative programs is excellent public policy. JDAI has established outstanding public safety outcomes, minimized detention over-crowding and the need to build more expensive facilities creating savings for taxpayers, improved efficiencies in the juvenile justice system operations, and produced better outcomes for youth and their families.
JDAI is a comprehensive initiative of eight strategies involving system-wide change in philosophy, practice and policy. Marion County (Indianapolis) Indiana originally became a JDAI local expansion site in 2006 with funding support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and local community funds. Since that time, the county has enacted a number of system-reform efforts which have reduced the detention population by nearly 50% while also maintaining public safety. Since October 2009, Indiana has embarked upon a statewide expansion of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) model program . The Youth Law T.E.A.M. of Indiana was chosen to act as the JDAI Statewide Coordinator and a Statewide Expansion Team, consisting of 11 members representing state agencies and organizations, participated in a model site visit coordinated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the state of New Jersey during May, 2010. Subsequent to this visit, it was determined that additional state agency leaders should be included to spearhead this important initiative. The Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Supreme Court agreed to become members of a lead-agency team along with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.n October 2010, four additional counties were added as Statewide Expansion sites, bringing the total to eight (8) Indiana JDAI County Expansion sites.
The eight Indiana JDAI Expansion Sites are:
*Marion County *Clark County *Lake County *Elkhart Count
*Porter County *Howard County *Tippecanoe County *Johnson County
a state-level Steering Committee is being convened to plan Indiana’s multi-year, multi-site initiative and implement initial steps. This Steering Committee includes representatives from multiple state-level child serving and juvenile justice entities as well as the Casey Foundation Technical Assistance Team Leader and representatives from each of the county replication sites. The agenda of the JDAI Steering Committee in Indiana will change over the course of the
JDAI promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs to:
reduce reliance on secure confinement;
improve public safety;
reduce racial disparities and bias;
save taxpayers’ dollars; and
stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms
*Why Juvenile Detantion Reform Matters*
The Casey Foundation launched Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative o reverse the troubling trends in juvenile justice and demonstrate that juvenile detention and corrections populations could be substantially and safely reduced. Today, JDAI is part of the Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, working with public agencies to implement innovative and effective reforms that improve the outcomes of children and youth who experience, or are at risk of entering, juvenile justice systems.
Detention is a crucial early phase in the juvenile justice process. An estimated 400,000 young people every year are admitted to detention nationwide and approximately 26,000 are held on any given night. The sheer volume of youth affected demands our attention. Detention itself has a significant negative impact on delinquency cases and is associated with negative long-term life outcomes. Research has shown that detained youth are more likely to be formally charged, found delinquent, and committed to youth corrections facilities than similarly situated youngsters. They are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Placement in locked detention – particularly if it leads to a lengthy period of correctional custody – interrupts the natural maturational process through which most young people grow out of delinquent behavior. Detention also represents a significant cost to taxpayers – more than $1 billion per year nationwide. Though costs vary widely from region to region (depending on salary levels, programming, and services), average costs per bed have been estimated at $48,000 per year. The average cost to build, finance, and operate a single detention bed over its first 20 years is approximately $1.5 million per bed.Detention populations over the past two decades have seen a dramatic worsening in the disproportionate representation of youth of color. In 1985, 43 percent of juvenile detainees nationwide were youth of color. That percentage grew to 56 percent in 1995 and 62 percent in 1999, rising to 69 percent in the most recent national count taken in 2006.