Indiana Implements JDAI as its Platform for Continuous Juvenile Justice System Improvement

Posted June 12, 2013, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The State of Indiana’s juvenile justice system, its youth, families and communities have cause for celebration as JDAI is beginning to move to scale in that state. In addition to the seven new JDAI sites that have been launched, and the 26 JDAI trainings and assessments conducted, Indiana officials have adopted a funding framework to support JDAI throughout the state.

This latest effort began back in December of 2012 as a roundtable, convened by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David and attended by eight local JDAI sites, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Governor’s Chief Counsel and other state officials and legislators, and provided the basis for a much larger convening in February 2013, with more than 90 state and local stakeholders, including Indiana senators, representatives, the Supreme Court, Department of Corrections and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Local communities discussed the remarkable outcomes achieved through JDAI, and Justice David outlined the proposed plan to include all 92 counties who want to be a part of the initiative in Indiana.

By the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session, the Indiana Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative was embraced and funded in the state’s biennial budget through the Indiana Judicial Center and Department of Correction. The $6 million will support a number of infrastructure improvements, including statewide coordination, data capacity-building and programming for pre and post-dispositional youth. And, once more, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute has included JDAI as one of its three Priority Purpose Areas of focus for OJJDP funds, as well as a Priority Purpose Area in its Drug and Crime Control Division’s Justice Assistance Grant.

JDAI began in Indiana in 2006 with a single jurisdiction, Marion County (Indianapolis). In 2010-2011, the state expanded to four expansion counties: Johnson, Porter, Lake and Tippecanoe. Last year, three additional expansion counties joined JDAI; Elkhart, Howard and Clark for a total of eight JDAI counties. These eight jurisdictions represent 34 percent of Indiana’s youth ages 10-17. In addition, a JDAI state steering committee and work groups have been created; membership includes legislators, the state judiciary, all relevant child-serving state agencies and representatives from each local JDAI site. The development of a strong organizational structure is the foundational support for Indiana's intentional and strategic expansion of JDAI.

“JDAI has demonstrated that use of a proven, data-driven model allows our judges and local stakeholders to make better and more informed decisions regarding those children that must be placed in secure detention or can be safely and effectively supervised, and helped by the local community,” says Justice David.

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