More than a Million Fewer Detention Days for Youth

Posted December 12, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog amillionfewerdetentiondays 2014

Richard Ross for Juvenile in Justice

Over its 22 years, the Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive (JDAI) has pro­duced a lot of encour­ag­ing evi­dence indi­cat­ing sig­nif­i­cant and ben­e­fi­cial results. 

Wide­spread repli­ca­tion. A dra­mat­ic drop in deten­tion pop­u­la­tionsFavor­able pub­lic safe­ty out­comesEncour­ag­ing efforts to com­bat racial and eth­nic dis­par­i­tiesMany few­er youth com­mit­ted to juve­nile cor­rec­tion­al insti­tu­tions. Indeed, all of these out­comes are detailed in the 2013 Annu­al JDAI Results Report doc­u­ment­ing the lat­est JDAI out­comes and a brand new 2014 JDAI Progress Report pro­vid­ing a holis­tic descrip­tion, his­to­ry and review of the JDAI Initiative.

In addi­tion, the new Results Report revealed a new sta­tis­tic – real­ly just a new cal­cu­la­tion – that puts JDAI’s impact into eye-open­ing perspective:

Nation­wide last year, youth resid­ing in JDAI juris­dic­tions spent more than 1.3 mil­lion few­er nights locked in deten­tion cells than in the year before these juris­dic­tions entered JDAI

Sounds incred­i­ble, but here’s the sim­ple math: accord­ing to the most recent annu­al JDAI results report, the 143 sites report­ing both pre-JDAI and cur­rent data reduced their aver­age dai­ly pop­u­la­tion in deten­tion from near­ly 8,100 in the year pri­or to enter­ing JDAI to just under 4,500 in the most recent year – result­ing in a 3,692 drop in the num­ber of young peo­ple con­fined each day. Stretched out over a full year (365 days), that means that — in just this one year — young peo­ple in these JDAI juris­dic­tions spent 1,347,543 few­er nights locked in deten­tion facilities. 

More than a million.

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