Unnecessary lock up of kids is detrimental for the kids, the families and the taxpayers. When Bart Lubow and the Casey Foundation looked at the juvenile detention field in the early 1990s, it was obvious that critical reforms were well overdue.  Readers will find in this article a hardcore look at juvenile detention reality before and after Casey launched its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) through the eyes of grantees and Foundation staff.  

November 27, 1999

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    The facts about arbitrary pretrial detention for kids.

  2. 2

    Why Casey launched its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

  3. 3

    How grantees are doing with JDAI implementation

  4. 4

    Why kids in detention are the ‘least favorite kids in America’.

  1. 5

    The importance of detention criteria when deciding what kids to lock up.

  2. 6

    Mixing race, crime and justice make discussing racial bias a tough conversation.

Key Takeaway

Being locked up in detention increases the perception that you should be locked up in jail

Kids who are put into detention are more likely to stay locked up and be sentenced to jail, whether it’s necessary or not. But if they are released to parents or a program instead, and stay trouble free, judges are much more likely to let them remain free.  The problem of arbitrary admissions is compounded by the lack of alternative options. Kids stay locked up because no one knows what else to do with them. Once officials see them locked up, they assume they should be locked up. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations