This report, the second installment in a series devoted to revolutionizing detention programs and practices in America, highlights two basic — yet vital — components for advancing complex reform: Leadership and teamwork. Readers will learn exactly what it takes (coordination! small victories! committees!) to pull players from all corners of the juvenile justice landscape and have them step in sync toward one noble focus—creating a safer, fairer detention system for today’s youth.
Experts share four quick tips for sustaining collaboration in juvenile detention reform. At the top of the list: Light an initial spark with small wins. Select tasks that can be done quickly and frequently to illustrate the benefits — and the promise — of working together.
Pushing the Big Picture
One benefit to collaboratives? Their diversity. One drawback? Their diversity. To facilitate change — and keep reform efforts in sync — virtually all JDAI sites established a 12- to 15-member steering committee that made key decisions on behalf of the larger reform effort.
Carve Changes in Stone
Leaders can reinforce the collaborative’s role — and ensure that their reform efforts stick — by making the changes official. This means rewriting procedures, policies, job descriptions and training modules to reflect the new and improved system.
Leaders will learn about four common challenges that they may face while championing complex reforms. Example: Defense attorneys may feel that their participation in the collaborative violates their sworn vow to protect children. The group must not shy away from addressing — and then resolving — this concern, as defense attorneys are critical to the reform effort’s success.
A Judicial Deal Breaker
Fact: No JDAI site succeeded without the leadership of the presiding juvenile court judge.
Statements & Quotations
Leadership is critical — some would argue, the single most important element — in determining the success or failure of a collaborative reform effort.
Successful collaboration for reform involves vision, coordination, and accountability.
It is important to begin with a few simple challenges, prove they can be overcome, and then move on to the bigger ones.