Provide training and technical assistance to JDAI sites in more than 250 participating jurisdictions.

Publish and distribute a wide range of analyses and tools with information and how-to advice on detention reform, including: practice guides, “Pathways to Detention Reform” reports, issue briefs and other publications.

Fund four local model sites — Bernalillo County, N.M.; Cook County, Ill.; Multnomah County, Ore.; and Santa Cruz County, Calif. — and New Jersey to serve as learning laboratories for new sites.

Host the online JDAI Helpdesk, which serves as a depository for documents related to detention reform and other juvenile justice issues, in addition to information on work being undertaken in state and local replication sites.

Convene annual national JDAI conferences that serve to strengthen both detention reform strategies and the network of sites and practitioners active in the detention reform movement.

Visit the JDAI Helpdesk

We expanded from five pilot sites to more than 250 sites in 39 states. More than one-fourth of all U.S. youth reside in states that are home to these sites.  

Participating JDAI sites have reduced their average daily population in detention by 43 percent since launching their JDAI efforts.

JDAI sites have reduced the number of youth of color in detention by 39 percent, despite the fact that youth of color comprise an ever-increasing share of the U.S. youth population

JDAI is reducing detention in ways that protect or even enhance public safety.

In 2009, the New York Times lauded JDAI’s “astonishing” results.

Using a structured planning process, the Foundation pursues eight interrelated core strategies:

View the Pathways to Juvenile Detention Reform Series

Juvenile Detention Risk Assessment: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #1
Detention risk screening is a fundamental strategy used to evaluate youth and determine the need for secure, locked confinement. This is a practical guide for juvenile justice decision makers and includes specific recommendations on how to design, test and implement detention risk-screening instruments. 

Detention Facility Self-Assessment: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #2
This practice guide provides instructions on conducting a secure detention facility self-inspection as well as comprehensive detention standards and an assessment instrument. 

State-Level Detention Reform: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #3
This is a “how-to” leadership guide designed for a highly specialized and specific audience: State juvenile justice advisory group members who advise and guide the implementation of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). 

Using Media Advocacy to Promote Detention Reform: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #4
This guide provides the tools for developing a well-timed and proactive media strategy, including tips and techniques for building relationships and pitching stories to reporters; strategies for developing compelling messages; and how to respond to the media in the context of a crisis. 

Making Detention Reform Work for Girls: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #5
Serving as a practical, how-to guide for jurisdictions, this report follows up on previous JDAI reports documenting the scope and nature of the different challenges and needs facing girls in the detention system.

Bernalillo County Mental Health Clinic Case Study: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #6
This report examines how one jurisdiction, Bernalillo County, N.M., has taken extraordinary steps to provide mental health treatment by ensuring Medicaid eligibility for detained youth and establishing a licensed, freestanding community mental health clinic adjacent to it detention facility.

Two Decades of JDAI: From Demonstration Project to National Standard reviews JDAI’s history, key elements and progress to date. This report formed the basis for an editorial in the New York Times.

New Jersey racks up impressive changes in safely reducing juvenile detention.

"A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform," an essay in the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book, highlights challenges for the juvenile justice system and offers promising solutions for youth, families, taxpayers and communities.

View all JDAI-related publications

From the Blog

Juvenile Justice Reforms in New Jersey Chronicled in Annie E. Casey Foundation Report

A new report looks at how New Jersey adopted the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative statewide.

Read More

Nate Balis, the new director of Casey’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, sits down for an interview with philanthropy's Juvenile Justice News.

JDAI: A Model for Change

Working with Public Systems to Tackle Big Problems

The president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation writes about the importance of working with public systems to make changes that help thousands of kids.

from demonstration project to national standard

This report documents JDAI’s progress both in reforming juvenile detention practices nationwide and contributing to the larger, more comprehensive juvenile justice reform movement.

The Missouri Model of Detention Reform

Kid "jails" are routinely found to be unsafe and unhealthy. Not in Missouri. Its approach for dealing with the most hardened juvenile offenders is producing results with less money.