True to its title, this report aims to help jurisdictions embed the goals of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) into state law. How it does this—by pairing an expansive collection of policy excerpts with helpful tips and a tool for assessing existing strategies—allows sites to create a customized game plan for advancing the tenets of JDAI reform.
JDAI—a product of the Annie E. Casey Foundation—is a multi-year, multi-site effort to create a safer, fairer detention system while championing the use of more effective, efficient alternatives to secure confinement.
Stakeholders can use this guide to create a customized action plan for updating policy according to their site’s unique needs.
Findings & Stats
Putting Policies to the Test
This report includes a detailed assessment tool framed around the 11 major goals of JDAI. By listing benchmarks for each goal, this tool helps jurisdictions evaluate the quality of their current strategies and—even more important—pinpoint policies to update to better support JDAI reform.
Setting the Stage for Smarter Number Crunching
State policies can help ensure that sites are gathering adequate data by requiring them to document the race, ethnicity and gender of each youth that interfaces with their system and to collect information on program outcomes, detention conditions, length of stay and special populations.
Strategies for Reducing Racial Disparities
Readers will learn how states can help address—and work to reduce—the overrepresentation of minority youth in secure confinement. One option? Update policies to create funding incentives that boost access to community-based detention alternatives for youth of color.
Statements & Quotations
While JDAI sites routinely implement administrative policy changes at the local jurisdiction level to support reform efforts, adopting new state policies can deepen effective detention reform.
Each site should consider its own legal structure and political reality to determine timing and strategy for proposed policy changes.