Juvenile Detention Alternatives 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.

The Casey Foun­da­tion spurs the net­work to pur­sue poli­cies and prac­tices in their com­mu­ni­ties, courts and out-of-home place­ments that keep young peo­ple safe and on track for long-term suc­cess, while still hold­ing youth account­able for their actions. The net­work pro­motes a data-dri­ven, prob­lem-solv­ing approach and a series of tools that are root­ed in core strate­gies. These strate­gies are explic­it about racial equi­ty to address the glar­ing over­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of youth of col­or in the jus­tice sys­tem; youth, fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment; and com­mu­ni­ty-based alter­na­tives to confinement.

The JDAI net­work is peo­ple doing sim­i­lar work and fac­ing sim­i­lar chal­lenges in states and local­i­ties across the coun­try who influ­ence and sup­port one anoth­er to think dif­fer­ent­ly about what’s pos­si­ble with for youth in their com­mu­ni­ties. The net­work is con­nect­ed through a free and open online com­mu­ni­ty that offers advice from a vari­ety of voic­es, cred­i­ble resources and train­ing on demand.

The Casey Foun­da­tion’s Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive®, or JDAI for short, began more than 25 years ago as a pilot project to reduce reliance on local deten­tion. By design, reform in JDAI sites has expand­ed beyond juve­nile deten­tion, the front end of the sys­tem. Sites are apply­ing core JDAI themes — such as effec­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion and objec­tive deci­sion mak­ing — to broad­er reform goals.

From the Blog

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Learn the Basics of Juvenile Justice

This post reviews collects blog posts, publications and resources meant to give readers an overview of juvenile justice. Review the resources.

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JDAI: A Model for Change

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Working With Law Enforcement

This guide is a resource-packed playbook for juvenile justice reformers who want to forge effective partnerships with law enforcement agencies. The goal? Help reduce the use of unnecessary detention while improving public safety outcomes at the same time.

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Transforming Juvenile Probation

In this executive summary, the Casey Foundation presents its vision for transforming juvenile probation into a focused intervention that promotes personal growth, positive behavior change and long-term success for youth who pose significant risks for serious offending.

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A Virtual Community for Reformers

Since the launching JDAIconnect in 2017, more than 2,500 juvenile justice reformers have joined the fee online community to exchange ideas, find resources and learn from each other. We encourage practitioners, advocates and young people to join today.