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

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

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Juvenile Justice News

A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform

In its 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book Essay, the Annie E. Casey Foundation focuses on juvenile justice reform. President Douglas W. Nelson notes that our nation’s current approach to juvenile justice is costly, discriminatory, dangerous and ineffective.

Fortunately, alternative policies, practices and programs have emerged that have the potential to transform our juvenile justice systems and greatly improve the odds of success for troubled youth. Moreover, most of these alternatives have already been implemented effectively, providing a clear and compelling road map for reform.

Casey’s most complete articulation of the nation’s juvenile justice challenges and solutions has been published as a stand-alone publication. “The Essay and Data Brief from the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book” is available to download or order from the Casey website.

The essay provides a clear and compelling roadmap for reform and urges local, state and federal officials to accept responsibility for charting a course that addresses six pervasive deficiencies that face our nation's juvenile justice systems:

  • Trends in juvenile justice blur or ignore the well-established differences between youth and adults.
  • Indiscriminate and wholesale incarceration of juveniles is proving expensive, abusive, and bad for public safety.
  • Juvenile justice systems too often ignore the critical role of families in solving delinquency.
  • The increasing propensity to prosecute minor cases in the juvenile justice system harms youth, with no benefit to public safety.
  • Juvenile justice has too often become a dumping ground for youth who should be served by other public systems.
  • System policies and practices have allowed unequal justice to persist.

There is also a 12-page summary available.

Order the “Essay and Data Brief from the “2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book”.


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