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 20102011, 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 1017. 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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