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Detention Reform: An Effective Public Safety Strategy

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
This brief from the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports on the use of detention reform, part of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI), as an effective public safety strategy.
This report discusses the successful use of detention reform by the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) as a way to improve public safety. One of JDAI's core strategies is to provide tools to juvenile justice officials to assist their efforts to reduce crime while reserving scarce public safety resources for more effective ways to supervise youth. Analysis of JDAI's four model sites found that the JDAI was able to reduce the average daily population in detention without sacrificing public safety; JDAI detention alternatives ensured that more young people returned to court; and young people sent to detention alternatives had a lower rate of recidivism than youth sent to State prisons. JDAI's core strategies for detention reform are also discussed. These strategies include: 1) JDAI helps identify the youth most likely to reoffend; 2) JDAI assists law enforcement and those systems that serve youth to work together; 3) JDAI's focus on data helps to hold the system accountable for public safety results; and 4) JDAI helps communities develop alternatives that enhance supervision of youth and help these young people to succeed. Figures