Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) www.aecf.org is a private philanthropy devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. In the early 1990s, the Foundation launched the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) to reduce reliance on secure confinement in three jurisdictions across the country. The initial jurisdictions found they could safety reduce their detention populations without a resultant risk to community safety or youth reoffending. Today, the JDAI model is operating in nearly 300 counties and 40 states nationwide. JDAI is far more than reducing juvenile detention but is designed to overhaul many aspects of the juvenile justice system. The eight core strategies of JDAI are as follows:

  • Collaboration with system representatives and community based organizations
  • Rigorous data collection and analysis
  • Use of an objective admissions criteria and risk assessment instrument
  • Implementation of new or expanded alternatives to detention
  • Instituting case processing reforms
  • Reducing time spent in custody for special detention populations
  • Combating racial and ethnic disparities
  • Monitoring and improving condition of confinement in detention facilities

The Orange County Probation Department began their partnership with the AECF in 2008 when all of their juvenile facilities were at or exceeding maximum capacity. In April 2009, the Probation Department piloted a Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) that immediately reduced admissions to Juvenile Hall. The instrument was designed to be objective and applied uniformly. The immediate results were promising and showed a significant decline in detention admissions without an increased risk to community safety. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of admissions in to secure confinement has declined by forty-two percent (42%).

In 2009, the Orange County Probation Department became an official JDAI site. Since that time, the Probation Department has made tremendous progress across all eight JDAI strategies. If you would like additional information on JDAI in Orange County, please contact JDAI Coordinator Andrew Parker at 714-935-6884.

Please view the video below detailing our local JDAI efforts.