Marcia Hazelhorst, MJJA Executive Director and JDAI State Coordinator
Missouri Juvenile Justice Association
MJJA envisions a preferred future in which the public is aware and supportive of the delivery of quality juvenile justice services to the children of Missouri.
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
Begun two decades ago as a pilot project to reduce reliance on local confinement of court-involved youth, the JDAI change model is now operating in nearly 300 counties nationwide, dramatically reducing detention facility populations.
Detention is a crucial early phase in the juvenile court process. Placement into a locked detention center pending court significantly increases the odds that youth will be found delinquent and committed to corrections facilities and can seriously damage their prospects for future success.
Yet many detained youth pose little or no threat to public safety.
When the Foundation launched JDAI as a pilot project in the early 1990s, overreliance on detention was widespread and growing nationwide. Using a model rooted in eight core strategies, JDAI proved effective in helping participating jurisdictions safely reduce their detention populations. Based on its success, JDAI has been adopted by an ever-growing number of jurisdictions, leading to dramatic declines in detention populations.