Controlling the Front Gates

Effective Admission Policies and Practices

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

April 1, 1999

Summary

This report, the third installment in a series devoted to revolutionizing detention programs and practices in America, has a clear message for jurisdictions: You can build a more objective, consistent, efficient and taxpayer-friendly admissions process. It also has a clear message for the hundreds of thousands of American children who are unfairly detained each year: Help is coming — and it starts here. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Strong admissions criteria clearly define who can — and cannot — be detained

Sites use RAIs during intake interviews to assign a risk status (low, medium or high) to each individual to determine who gets detained, who qualifies for detention alternatives and who can be released. For juveniles who enter the system, detention center staff continue to use RAIs to revise initial scores as case factors change.

Findings & Stats

An Overused Option

Most states have vague eligibility requirements that permit almost any child to be permitted to detention for almost any reason. In fact, on any given day, seven out of 10 youth in detention are charged with nonviolent acts of technical probations.

Statements & Quotations