Provide training and technical assistance to practitioners through JDAIconnect, a free online community open to all for resources, expert guidance and peer-to-peer learning.
Provide a limited amount of technical assistance beyond what is available on JDAIconnect to jurisdictions trying something new or pushing the envelope with a reform strategy.
Publish and distribute practice- and assessment-oriented guides, analyses and videos.
Fund network learning labs in four local sites — Bernalillo County, N.M.; Cook County, Ill.; Multnomah County, Ore.; and Santa Cruz County, Calif. — and one state-level site, New Jersey.
Convene national conferences that energize the network through a mix of plenaries, workshops and small group discussions where practitioners and other experts exchange knowledge and first-hand reports of developments in the field.
Influence and encourage professionals to make smarter decisions that affect young people based on shared values, sound analyses and strategies known to reduce delinquency and support adolescent development.
View our resources on juvenile detention
JDAI changed the country’s norms for using secure detention, shifting from a posture that defaulted to locking kids up for any kind of misbehavior to one that demonstrated detention should and could be used rarely through collaborative, data-driven efforts that offered alternatives to confinement.
JDAI has become the standard of practice for how local justice systems nationwide handle the critical front end of the juvenile court process.
JDAI reaches nearly one-third of the total U.S. youth population. It expanded from fives sites in the mid-1990s to more than 300 jurisdictions in 40 states and the District of Columbia by 2019.
Second and third generations of juvenile justice reformers are building upon the legacy of JDAI’s pioneers and adapting the model to current conditions.
State governments are leading the expansion of JDAI to more counties and cities.
Systems are locking up dramatically fewer young people prior to the court determining the outcome of the youth’ cases. Since launching their JDAI efforts, across the initiative sites have reduced admissions to secure detention by 57 percent and average daily population by 50 percent, and they have done so while protecting public safety. The data is based on 2018, which is the latest available.
Success with JDAI has been a catalyst for sites to apply JDAI’s core strategies beyond detention.
Important challenges remain, including overrepresentation of youth of color at every level of system involvement.
In 2009, the New York Times lauded JDAI’s “astonishing” results.
Download the JDAI at 25 progress report for more information
State and local juvenile justice systems themselves — along with system stakeholders — have the will, capacity and opportunity to pursue strategies that achieve better outcomes for young people charged with delinquency.
Share the values that all young people deserve a bright future, humanity and fairness; and belong in families, not prison-like facilities, which are no place for kids.
Work to close racial disparities by focusing on the most overrepresented groups in our youth justice systems and those who have experienced the steepest barriers to realizing their potential.
Support JDAI as a dynamic national movement that pursues policies and practices that keep young people safe and on track for long-term success, while still holding youth accountable for their actions.
Help participating sites achieve success through technical assistance, learning labs, practice guides, implementation tools and opportunities for practitioners to come together in-person and online.
Energize the JDAI network and JDAIconnect as a place for practitioners and other system stakeholders to exchange ideas and find mutual support.
Enhance state leaders’ capacity to promote and support JDAI expansion at the county level, with state governments playing a central role in spreading the JDAI model.
Use the detention reform — i.e., safely reducing the number of young people coming in systems’ front doors — as a catalyst for practitioners to pursue other necessary changes within their systems.
Promote the JDAI model’s eight core strategies.
Juvenile detention reforms in Broward County, Florida inspired the creation of JDAI more than 25 years ago.
Detention is a crucial early phase in the juvenile court process. Placement into a locked detention center pending court significantly increases the odds that youth will be found delinquent and committed to corrections facilities and can seriously damage their prospects for future success. Yet many detained youth pose little or no threat to public safety.
From 1987 to 1992, Florida's Broward County combined interagency collaboration, research, objective screening procedures, non-secure detention alternatives and faster case processing to reduce its detention population by 65%, without any sacrifice of public safety. It saved taxpayers more than $5 million.
Following Broward County, five sites joined JDAI’s demonstration phase in 1992. Begun at the height of overcrowding in detention centers across the country and amid the nation’s alarm over youth crime and tough on crime tack, the JDAI pilot sites withstood significant political resistance.
The early successes in two of the original sites — Multnomah County, Oregon, and Cook County, Illinois, which include the cities of Portland and Chicago respectively — as well as in two of the initiative’s first replication sites, Santa Cruz County, California, and Bernalillo County, New Mexico, proved that commonsense approaches and new alternatives could safely reduce the detention population.
As these successes and reform strategies were documented and shared, JDAI gained momentum. A training and technical support infrastructure was built to help jurisdictions faithfully adopt JDAI’s eight core strategies, including five sites that agreed to serve as learning laboratories for other jurisdictions.
When the initiative commemorated its 25th anniversary in 2017, the JDAI had spread to 300 jurisdictions in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Now the JDAI network is a national movement of practitioners and system stakeholders that are advancing reforms in all aspects of youth justice, based on JDAI’s core values and strategies.