445 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 520 Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
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The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a detention reform and juvenile justice system improvement initiative that has demonstrated over 20 years, in urban and rural jurisdictions, that moving low-risk youth from secure detention into community-based alternative programs is excellent public policy. JDAI has established outstanding public safety outcomes, minimized detention over-crowding and the need to build more expensive facilities creating savings for taxpayers, improved efficiencies in the juvenile justice system operations, and produced better outcomes for youth and their families.
JDAI is a comprehensive initiative of eight strategies involving system-wide change in philosophy, practice and policy. Marion County (Indianapolis) Indiana originally became a JDAI local expansion site in 2006 with funding support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and local community funds. Since that time, the county has enacted a number of system-reform efforts which have reduced the detention population by nearly 50% while also maintaining public safety. Since October 2009, Indiana has embarked upon a statewide expansion of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) model program. http://indianacourts.us/times/2009/10/juvenile-detention-alternatives-initiative-in-indiana/
JDAI will expand to more counties and became institutionalized at the Indiana Judicial Center thanks to a partnership of all three branches of government. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David called it, “A thoughtful investment that will help kids, families, communities and the agencies that serve them.”
With $5,500,000 (over two years) in state funding appropriated by the legislature, a number of new counties will become JDAI sites. In December 2013 the addition of eleven expansion counties was announced. Indiana Department of Correction Executive Director of Youth Services Mike Dempsey applauded the funding, “We appreciate the Governor’s and Legislature’s support and providing the necessary funding as a means to support the JDAI statewide expansion effort and ensuring more Indiana youth are provided with opportunities for community-based alternatives to secure detention when appropriate.”
With the expansion, as many as 56% of Indiana’s youth ages 10-17 will live in a JDAI county. “This initiative allows kids to not be exposed to the detention (jail) environment if it’s determined they are not a risk to the public,” said Mary Allen, Executive Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“DCS is pleased to be a part of this collaborative effort to provide appropriate services to this vulnerable population of Hoosier youth,” said Mary Beth Bonaventura, Director, Indiana Department of Child Services.
Within Indiana, JDAI is overseen by an executive team, four organizations that have a vested interest in the juvenile system: the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI), the Indiana Supreme Court, the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC), and the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), with technical assistance provided by the Youth Law T.E.A.M. of Indiana.
In October 2010, four additional counties were added as Statewide Expansion sites, bringing the total to eight (8) Indiana JDAI County Expansion sites.
During 2011, a state-level Steering Committee is being convened to plan Indiana's multi-year, multi-site initiative and implement initial steps. This Steering Committee includes representatives from multiple state-level child serving and juvenile justice entities as well as the Casey Foundation Technical Assistance Team Leader and representatives from each of the county replication sites. The agenda of the JDAI Steering Committee in Indiana will change over the course of the initiative from an initial focus on convening stakeholders and building infrastructure to greater focus on substantive issues, such as sustainable funding and policy change.