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. 

April 1, 1999

Pathways to Juvenile Detention Reform Series

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Why so many youth are unnecessarily detained

  2. 2

    How to develop and utilize Risk Assessment Instruments (RAIs)

  3. 3

    Examples of real RAIs used to make intake decisions

  4. 4

    Stories of sites that successfully revamped their admission processes

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

Statements & Quotations