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Juvenille Detention Alternatives Initiative (the Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Juvenille Detention Alternatives Initiative (the Annie E. Casey Foundation)

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Published by: destinyschildren on Jan 16, 2010
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01/16/2010

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JUVENILE DETENTIONALTERNATIVES INITIATIVE
ASuccessful Approach to Comprehensive Reform
The Annie E. Casey Foundation 
 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a  private charitable organization dedi- cated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. It was established in 
 
by  Jim Casey, one of the founders of  
UPS 
,and his siblings, who named the Foundation in honor of their mother. The primary mission of the Foundation is to foster public policies,human-service reforms, and commu- nity supports that moreeffectively meet the needs of today’svulnerable children and families. Inpursuit of this goal,the Foundation makes grants that help states, cities, and neighborhoods  fashion moreinnovative, cost-effective responses to these needs. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website at www.aecf.org.
 
INAPPROPRIATE JUVENILE DETENTION:
Damaged Futures, Poor Results 
1
Imagine a model juvenile justice system: one that holds delin-quent youth accountable while helping them redirect their lives,that protects communities, saves scarce tax dollars, and locks uponly those youth who truly need to be confined. Sadly, in many  jurisdictions, the gulf between this ideal and the reality of juve-nile justice is far and wide.Every year, hundreds of thousands of youth are inappro-priately or unnecessarily detained in dangerous, overcrowdeddetention centers, which increases their risk of recidivism, seversfragile ties to families and schools, and costs taxpayers millionsof dollars.Despite sensationalized headlines about isolated incidents,most detained youth arecharged with non-violent offenses orrule violations. Detention, which generally occurs
before 
adelin-quency finding, is intended for youth who pose a significantrisk of reoffending or fleeing the court’s jurisdiction. But thenumbers showthat most detained youth do not fall into eitherof those categories: more than two-thirds are charged with prop-erty or public order offenses and/or technical probation viola-tions or status offenses (like running away or breaking curfew).Many youth end up in detention because the system cannotaccurately distinguish which youth pose serious risks. Othertimes, youth are detained because they have frustrated or angeredsystem personnel who want to “teach them a lesson” or “get theirattention,” or because no parent is available to take them home.Sometimes youth remain detained because system inefficiencieshave delayed their cases. Increasingly, kids are detained because

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