The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Helping vulnerable kids & families succeed

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

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JDAI Site Updates

Iowa Launched as JDAI Site

Annie E. Casey Foundation staff and JDAI consultants traveled to Des Moines, Sioux City and Waterloo, Iowa, to participate in the foundation’s “quick launch” of a new JDAI site and to welcome Iowa as the 24th state to join the detention reform movement.

Gov. Chester Culver issued a proclamation establishing Nov. 12, 2008, as JDAI’s official launch date and affirming the state’s commitment to reducing the overrepresentation of minorities in detention and its reliance on detention.

In the past 15 years Iowa has experienced dramatic growth in the use of detention. Between 1993 and 2006, the number of available detention beds increased by 92 percent and the number of youth detained increased by 107 percent.

The Honorable Arthur Gamble, 5th Judicial District chief judge, opened the stakeholder's meeting in Des Moines. He called upon those in attendance and those involved in Iowa’s juvenile justice system to “challenge” current conditions.

“Commit yourself to open up the juvenile justice system to scrutiny. And commit yourself to provide staff resources as necessary to work on this project,” he said.

“We need to make sure that secure detention is reserved only for the youth that need to be there. We need to find alternatives to detention for the others.”

Gov. Culver is supporting Iowa’s JDAI effort with oversight from his own Youth, Race and Detention Task Force. Iowa’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council is also providing funding and support.

For more information contact Dave Kuker at

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