Most Popular Juvenile Justice Resources

More Resources

Our Work in Juvenile Justice

For young people to thrive, we need to respond more effectively when they do harm and make mistakes. This means moving away from a culture of surveillance, punishment and confinement and toward more developmentally appropriate responses — including options that keep some kids away from the justice system altogether. We contribute to youth well-being via:

Spearheading a national movement to reform detention — a crucial early phase of the juvenile court process — by reducing overreliance on temporary confinement for youth awaiting their court dates.

Begun as a pilot project in five jurisdictions in the 1990s, the Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) reform model is now being implemented in more than 250 U.S. counties.

Participating JDAI sites have reduced their daily detention populations by 43% since joining the initiative while maintaining or improving public safety.

In 2009, the New York Times published an editorial lauding JDAI’s “astonishing” results and recommending that the model “deserve[s] to be replicated nationwide.”

Promoting reforms to reduce incarceration and other out-of-home placements for delinquent youth.

A ground-breaking study, No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Reliance on Juvenile Incarceration, shows that America’s overreliance on youth incarceration is dangerous, ineffective, obsolete, wasteful and unnecessary, while providing no net benefit to public safety. The Foundation updated those findings four years later in Maltreatment of Youth in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities.

We have expanded JDAI to focus on the “deep end” of the juvenile justice system — reducing long-term placements into correctional institutions and other facilities. Casey’s Juvenile Justice Strategies Group is piloting efforts in six local JDAI sites, as well as Georgia, to devise and implement reforms aimed at reducing the number of children removed from home in the delinquency court process.

Over the past decade, the Foundation has undertaken several intensive projects to help states and localities analyze and reorient their juvenile justice policies, leading to significant shifts away from juvenile incarceration in Alabama, New York City, Washington, D.C., and other jurisdictions.

Advancing a key set of principles related to juvenile justice reforms.

Youth should remain at home and be supervised in the community rather than being separated from their families and placed into correctional institutions or other residential facilities when they do not pose a significant risk to public safety.

Rigorous data collection and careful data analysis are critical to success in juvenile justice reform. Objective data-driven decision tools should guide treatment at all stages of the juvenile court process.

Racial and ethnic disparities in our nation’s juvenile systems must be addressed. Vigorous efforts to identify and change policies and practices that disadvantage youth of color are vitally important.

Systems must engage families and involve them in all aspects of their children’s cases.

Violence and maltreatment remain widespread in juvenile corrections and detention facilities nationwide. Juvenile corrections agencies have a profound obligation to address these problems and provide safe and humane care to youth in their custody.

Current Strategies

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

Ourwork initiative jdai

JDAI is a network of juvenile justice practitioners and other system stakeholders across the country working to build a better and more equitable youth justice system. Studies show that youth who spend time in juvenile detention facilities experience far more negative outcomes — physically, mentally and educationally. The importance of juvenile detention alternatives cannot be overstated.

Reducing Youth Incarceration

Ourwork initiatives reducingincarceration

Learn about jurisdiction-level reform and efforts to reduce the number of youth placed into correctional institutions and other residential facilities.

Related Resources

See All Juvenile Justice Resources