Alternatives to Detention
JDAI Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
The state advisory group continues to support the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) as a system improvement initiative working towards detention reform in the state. In Washington, JDAI has provided a template to eliminate the inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention, particularly for status offenders, without any increase in juvenile crime. Youth who do not pose a threat to community safety are referred to other community resources, outside of a detention facility, while their charge is processed. These youth have not committed a serious crime, and are in fact youth who do not pose a risk to public safety: youth charged with minor offenses, runaways, truants, youth without a home or available placement, or youth needing mental health or substance abuse services.
The purpose of the initiative is to review court procedures and to use a data-driven process to see if certain juveniles might be better served by the use of alternatives, rather than detention. The goal of JDAI is to provide the right service to the right juvenile at the right time, and to hold (in detention) only those juveniles that must be held in locked detention to protect the community. In 2004 the SAG chose JDAI to address detention reform in the state to: develop a more focused and outcome-driven agenda, and use a proven model and framework to improve the juvenile justice system, that addresses both DSO and DMC, and promotes alternatives to secure detention. JDAI has been adopted by 36 states and 140 juvenile courts.
For a number of years, Washington State has held a high number of status offenders in secure juvenile detention facilities pursuant to a valid court order. From 1999 through 2008, the number of status offender admissions to juvenile detention facilities in Washington ranged from 3,500 to 4,200 annually (primarily related to an at-risk youth (ARY) or truancy court order, pursuant to the valid court order exception). In 2009 and 2010, that number was decreased (in 2010, there were 2,760 admissions of youth related to a status offense that were held in juvenile detention facilities statewide).
In a recent article in Juvenile & Family Justice Today, Summer 2010, it was reported: “Currently, OJJDP reports that the VCO Exception is used approximately 12,000 times per year in these 30 jurisdictions. Yet, nearly 60% of all such uses of the VCO occur in just three states: Kentucky, Washington and Texas.”
Overall, total admissions to the 22 juvenile detention facilities in Washington State have ranged from a high of 34,378 total admissions in 2000, to the low of 22,767 admissions total in 2010. An admission is defined as a stay of more than four hours. Admissions pursuant to a status offense comprised from: 11 to 14 percent of the total admissions to detention facilities annually from 1999 through 2008; 9 percent of the total admissions in 2009; and 12 percent of total admissions in 2010. The increase in the percentage of minority youth securely detained in juvenile detention facilities statewide is also a concern; over the past 10 years, from 2000 to 2010, there has been a significant increase (37%) in the percentage of minority youth admissions (from 30 percent of total admissions to detention facilities in year 2000, to 41 percent of total admissions in calendar year 2010).
Currently, many juvenile courts do not collect or analyze data to determine a youth’s risk level to public safety when they are arrested. Consequently, many youth who are not risks to public safety are unnecessarily held in detention. (In 2010, the top five reasons juveniles were held in detention facilities statewide were for Assault 4, Theft 3, probation violations, or related to a Truancy or At-Risk Youth Order). The absence of reliable data limits a jurisdiction’s ability to identify opportunities to reduce reliance on detention.
The JDAI is a system improvement initiative that encourages system decision-makers (judges, prosecutors, defense and probation) to use alternative community-based programs and services for low and moderate youth, rather than past practice of secure detention. JDAI sites commitment is to on-going collaboration to reduce unnecessary detention in lieu of alternative programs, using data to make informed policy and practice revisions, develop and use a detention risk assessment (DRAI) for detention admission decisions, expedite case processing, implement strategies to reduce the need for warrants and develop new options for probation technical violations rather than detention, and to prioritize reducing racial and gender disparities throughout the juvenile justice system.
- Improve the juvenile justice system in Washington by increasing compliance with the core requirements;
- Increase the availability and types of alternative to secure confinement programming (including gender-specific and culturally competent programming);
- Reduce the number of status offenders held pursuant to the VCO, and the number of low-risk delinquent offenders, held in secure juvenile detention;
- Reduce DMC (a top priority), and participate in the DMC Assessment being conducted by the SAG/OJJ;
- Expand JDAI in Washington as a statewide detention reform strategy;
- Further statewide awareness and information on the JDAI, and adoption of JDAI as a strategy for the state for detention reform—may include conferences, trainings, technical assistance, etc.
The SAG will develop a JDAI statewide oversight/leadership committee (the makeup and parameters for the leadership committee will be formulated and established by the Partnership Council during 2012-13).
Each of the juvenile courts replicating JDAI in Washington State has safely reduced their detention populations by implementing alternatives to detention programs, expediting case processing timeframes, and developing a risk assessment instrument to determine which youth require incarceration. Sites are also participating in the DMC Assessment that is being conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice, as reported in the DMC plan.
Program Objectives & Activities:
It is anticipated the nine JDAI sites (see below) will be funded at amounts needed to sustain JDAI implementation locally (with newer sites receiving higher amounts), along with one contract for JDAI statewide coordination, and a small amount of funding to provide for a statewide JDAI conference/workshop, and for convening a JDAI statewide oversight group (the SAG will develop the makeup and parameters for this group). State funding via legislative proviso ($178,000 for SFY 2013) and a small annual Annie E. Casey Foundation grant ($25,000) will be partnered with the federal Title II funds.
Funding for JDAI sites in Washington includes providing for: detention alternative coordinator positions or detention alternatives staff positions to implement programming (or expeditor-type positions); to implement or support alternative programs for youth; enhanced data collection and analysis; and also for travel to attend required instate quarterly meetings, as well as for one annual JDAI national and/or state conference. Projects must submit progress reports and meet all required reporting criteria for JDAI sites, as well as submit progress reports to the Office of Juvenile Justice, work collaboratively with the statewide coordinator, work collaboratively with the OJJ DMC Assessment contracted consultants, attend quarterly training meetings, submit quarterly and annual outcome data, and conduct detention self-inspections every two years.
There are currently nine JDAI sites in Washington, representing 10 counties; these participating counties represent almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Washington’s juvenile population and approximately 64 percent of Washington’s minority youth. The sites (10 counties total) and anticipated funding amounts for contracts in SFY 2013 include:
425 E. Main Street, Suite 100
Othello, WA 99344
Contact: Juan Garza / Weno Dominguez
Fax: (509) 488-3425
Project Amount: $30,000
5606 West Canal Place, Suite 106
Kennewick, WA 99336
Contact: Sharon Paradis / Eric Lipp
Project Amount: $25,000
500 West 11th Street
PO Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Contact: Pat Escamilla / Jodi Martin
360-397-2201, ext 4022
Project Amount: $50,000
1211 East Alder Street
Seattle, WA 98122
Contact: Bruce Knutson / Teddi Edington
Fax: (206) 205-9408
Project Amount: $25,000
615 West Alder Street
PO Box 368
Shelton, WA 98584
Contact: Harris Haertel / Sonya Miles
360-427-9670, x. 248
Fax: 360-427-7785Project Amount: $30,000
5501 6th Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98406-2603
Contact: Shelly Maluo
Fax (253) 798-7649
Project Amount: $25,000
1208 W. Mallon Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201-2091
Contact: Bonnie Bush
Fax: (509) 477-2699
Project Amount: $25,000
311 Grand Avenue, #501
Bellingham, WA 98225
Contact: David Reynolds
(360) 676-6780, ext. 50143
Fax: (360) 738-2515
Project Amount: $10,000
JDAI Statewide Coordination
2910 N. Spotted Road
Spokane, WA 99224
Fax: (509) 624-7370
Project Amount: $77,000
JDAI News, the newsletter of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, is published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. JDAI News provides readers with site updates and results of policy and practice reforms from 144 sites in 38 states and the District of Columbia.