This report documents New Jersey’s success in replicating the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative model and highlights the importance of state leadership to progress. It also identifies key ingredients in New Jersey’s approach and draws lessons from the state that might benefit other jurisdictions looking to take JDAI to scale.
New Jersey Demonstrates Importance of State Leadership for JDAI Replication
Findings & Stats
Dramatic drop in daily detention
Together as of 2013, the initial five New Jersey counties participating in JDAI (the pilot sites) had reduced their combined average detention populations from 499 per day to 174 (down 65%) since 2003, and the first five replication sites had cut their average daily detention populations from 164 to 96 (down 41%) since 2005.
Nearly statewide JDAI implementation
As of early 2014, JDAI was active in 18 of the New Jersey’s 21 counties, and the remaining three counties are expected to join JDAI by 2015.
Sharp Decline in Commitments to Juvenile Corrections
In addition to reducing the number of youth held in local detention centers awaiting court or pending placement, New Jersey JDAI sites have reduced the number of youth they commit to state custody. Prior to launching JDAI, participating counties committed 1,037 youth to state custody. In 2013, these same counties committed just 301 youth, a 71% drop.
Significant gains for Youth of Color
Youth of color in New Jersey have reaped substantial benefit from JDAI. As of 2013, average daily population of youth of color in detention fell 60% in JDAI counties (from 740 pre-JDAI to 300 in 2013).
Statements & Quotations
Boiled down, New Jersey’s progress can be chalked up to three factors. First was determined leadership. Second was timing — achieving excellence in initial sites before spreading the model to other jurisdictions. Third was the development of a sturdy infrastructure to support local implementation efforts, promote replication and sustain momentum over the long haul.
Fortunately, the leadership challenge facing states seeking to promote JDAI replication today are not nearly so steep as those New Jersey confronted a decade ago. New Jersey’s success is now a matter of record, and New Jersey is firmly entrenched as a model for state-level leadership on JDAI. A pathway to progress has been blazed.
Subscribe to our newsletter to get our data, reports and news in your inbox.