A Cost-Saving Approach

Detention Reform Brief 1

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 1, 2007


Many communities spend millions of dollars locking up kids who could be safely supervised elsewhere. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) describes how communities in its program have reduced wasteful spending by providing alternatives to detaining nonviolent youth and freeing up money for more effective public safety solutions.

Key Takeaway

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Juvenile detention is the most expensive, but least effective, way to achieve public safety goals.

One single detention bed costs the public as much as $1.5 million over a 20-year period.

Findings & Stats

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Multnomah County (Portland) Oregon saved more than $17 million in cumulative savings (at the time of this report) by closing three 16-bed detention units and saving $2.4 million each year in detention operating costs.

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Cost Effectiveness of Interventions per Dollar Spent

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Cook County Reduced The Average Daily Population in Detention

Statements & Quotations