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Juvenile Detention Reform: Guide for County Officials

NCJ Number
Justin Carmody; Lesley Buchan
Date Published
12 pages
The National Association of Counties (NACo), with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation presents this Guide for County Officials in order to assist them in understanding the reasons for and ways to achieve effective juvenile detention reform under the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
The JDAI's goal is to show communities that they can improve their detention systems without sacrificing public safety. JDAI's objectives are to decrease the number of youth unnecessarily or inappropriately detained; to reduce the number of youth who fail to appear in court or reoffend pending adjudication; and to redirect public funds toward effective juvenile justice processes and public safety strategies. JDAI has eight core strategies for achieving these objectives. They involve intergovernmental collaboration, making data-driven decisions, using objective risk-assessment instruments, developing new detention alternatives, expediting the flow of cases through the system, reducing racial disparities through specific strategies aimed at eliminating bias, improving conditions of confinement, and handling special cases in new and innovative ways. The latter types of cases involve technical probation violations, warrants, and youth whose placement is pending. This guide explains the role of county policymakers in implementing the JDAI and how much counties need to invest in juvenile detention compared to cost-effective, community-based alternatives to detention. The guide concludes with descriptions of three model county JDAI programs: Bernalillo County, NM; Multnomah County, OR; and Santa Cruz County, CA. 22 notes and an annotated listing of resource sources