Reducing Juvenile Detention

Since 2005, Ramsey County has reduced the number of admissions to juvenile detention by 85%. 

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

In 2005, The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners agreed to adopt the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) as a strategy for combating disproportionate minority contact within the juvenile justice system. JDAI is a nationally recognized, evidence-based reform project launched in 1992 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The mission of JDAI is to improve public safety and long-term outcomes for juveniles by:
  • Reducing the number of juveniles in secure detention. 
  • Eliminating the disproportionate representation of juveniles of color in secure detention.
  • Achieving systematic reform of juvenile detention practices.
  • Developing appropriate and effective detention alternatives for juveniles who should not be held in secure detention.
JDAI uses collaborative partners from different systems to review data and analyze decision-making that influences juvenile contact and overall system involvement.  This format has been successful in significantly reducing detention admissions since 2005 by 85%. However, racial disparities continue to exist within the juvenile justice system and youth of color represent a majority of secure detention admissions, at 60% in 2022.
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