JDAI in New Jersey

A Statewide Replication Success Story and Lessons for Taking JDAI Statewide

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

June 5, 2014


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.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

New Jersey Demonstrates Importance of State Leadership for JDAI Replication

New Jersey has demonstrated that state government can play a pivotal role in JDAI, and that effective state leadership can be a catalyst for dramatic progress in taking JDAI to scale. Guided by New Jersey ’s example, a growing number of other states have recently begun to make significant strides toward replicating JDAI statewide in recent years, and the lessons of New Jersey’s experience offer important lessons for any state seeking to boost state-level leadership and accelerate the pace and effectiveness of its JDAI replication efforts.

Findings & Stats

Aecf JDA Iin New Jersey Initial Site Change 2014

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.

Aecf JDA Iin New Jersey Juvenile Confinements 2014

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.

Statements & Quotations