Washington State Welcomes 9th JDAI Site

Posted May 10, 2013
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Ninth jdai site

With the sup­port of its Supe­ri­or Court judges, the Clark Coun­ty Juve­nile Court became the ninth juris­dic­tion in Wash­ing­ton to par­tic­i­pate in JDAI. A com­mu­ni­ty event launch­ing the ini­tia­tive was held Jan­u­ary 302013.

A Deten­tion Uti­liza­tion Study found that the deten­tion aver­age dai­ly pop­u­la­tion of 44 youth con­sist­ed of 50 per­cent pro­ba­tion vio­la­tions, 32% new felony offens­es and 18% new mis­de­meanor offenses.

Accord­ing to an edi­to­r­i­al pub­lished on Feb­ru­ary 5, 2013 in the The Columbian:

Nine local agen­cies — most­ly jus­tice- and law-enforce­ment-relat­ed — signed a mem­o­ran­dum of under­stand­ing last sum­mer to adopt the Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive, or JDAI, which is draw­ing praise in eight oth­er Wash­ing­ton coun­ties. And judg­ing by the capac­i­ty crowd at a local meet­ing Wednes­day, sup­port is grow­ing for the pro­gram that should be in place in four to six months. It’s good to see Clark Coun­ty pros­e­cu­tors and jus­tice and law-enforce­ment offi­cials col­lab­o­rat­ing on a mod­ern approach to deal­ing with low-risk teens such as tru­ants and run­aways, plus those need­ing men­tal health or sub­stance abuse services.”

Clark Coun­ty has estab­lished a ded­i­cat­ed JDAI Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee to launch JDAI in Washington’s fifth largest coun­ty. Teams from Clark Coun­ty have vis­it­ed Pierce and Spokane Coun­ties to learn more about how to imple­ment JDAI, and attend­ed a JDAI Mod­el Site vis­it on Novem­ber 1314, 2012, at Bernalil­lo County.

In a newslet­ter describ­ing how Clark Coun­ty expects to imple­ment JDAI core strate­gies, Pat Escamil­la, Clark Coun­ty Juve­nile Court Admin­is­tra­tor, addressed a con­cern of deten­tion staff fear­ing that few­er youth in deten­tion would result in lay­offs: The intent is not to cut posi­tions, but rather to use staff in more effec­tive ways. So while there will be few­er staff assigned to work in deten­tion, more staff will be need­ed to work with youth in the community. 

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