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Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

New Mexico's System Improvement approach is based on Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). It is designed to enable jurisdictions to safely reduce reliance on secure confinement through continuous juvenile justice system improvement. JDAI is intended to: 1) Eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention. 2) Minimize failures to appear and incidence of delinquent behavior. 3) Redirect public finances to successful reform strategies. 4) Improve conditions in secure detention facilities. 5) Reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

Image by Daiga Ellaby

about JDAI 


The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative seeks to achieve these goals by

implementing these 8 Core Strategies.

  1. Collaboration: All juvenile justice systems must work together in order to successfully reform

  2. Data Driven Decision Making: JDAI is a results based initiative that uses objective data analysis to drive reform

  3. Eliminating Disparities: Using specific strategies to eliminate bias

  4. Objective Admissions Criteria: Utilizing screening instruments to distinguish youth who are likely to flee or be arrested again and those who are not

  5. Alternatives to Detention: Provide supervision, structure and accountability

  6. Case Processing Reforms: Modifying juvenile justice procedures to decrease delays in procedures that are unnecessarily lengthy.

  7. Special Detention Cases: Examining cases that contribute to large percentages of inappropriate or unnecessary stays in detention

  8. Conditions of Confinement: Regular facility assessment checks to ensure that confinement centers are adequately evolving to maintain safe and humane conditions for the residents.

JDAI Resources

JDAI Connect

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has created a platform for Juvenile Justice Reformers across the country, that enables them to connect with each other for advice, camaraderie, peer support or inspiration.


Additionally, JDAI Connect allows them to find reports, articles, presentations and other documents on juvenile detention reform or youth justice more broadly.

Reformers can also access training on demand on subjects such as eliminating systemic racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice systems.

This is just a small list of the activities that take place on JDAI Connect.


Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
















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