Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Since 1992, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has demonstrated that jurisdictions can safely reduce the use of secure confinement without impacting public safety. JDAI is being replicated in almost 200 jurisdictions in 39 states and the District of Columbia.  JDAI is based on eight core strategies that address the primary reasons why youth are unnecessarily or inappropriately detained.  The eight core strategies are:  collaboration, data driven decisions, objective admissions, alternatives to detention, case processing, special detention cases, reducing racial disparity, and conditions of confinement.

JDAI is a process, not a conventional program, which means JDAI helps restructure policy and practice to create system improvements that reach far beyond detention alone.  Goals of the JDAI are to:

  • decrease the number of youth unnecessarily or inappropriately detained;
  • reduce the number of youth who fail to appear in court or re-offend pending adjudication;
  • redirect public funds towards effective juvenile justice processes and public safety strategies;
  • reduce the disproportionate minority confinement and contact of the juvenile justice system; and
  • improve the juvenile justice system overall.

Nebraska has three local JDAI sites: Douglas County, Sarpy County and Otoe County. Douglas County began their JDAI work in 2011, Sarpy in 2012 and Otoe in 2016.  Historically detention alternatives have been limited throughout Nebraska, especially in rural areas. Through the philosophy of the JDAI and implementation of LB561, local probation districts in collaboration with communities and providers, are working towards developing a purposeful continuum of alternatives to detention statewide.

Information for Stakeholders

Visit the National JDAI Website (note: free account creation required)

For additional information contact:

Monica Miles-Steffens
Director of Placement
Juvenile Services Division
521 South 14th
Lincoln, NE 68508
(402) 471-4816
monica.miles-steffens@nebraska.gov