Multnomah County JSD is among the first national sites to implement the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a change model that helps participating jurisdictions reduce their reliance on local confinement of court-involved youth. Keeping youth out of detention, whenever possible, reduces the risk of their eventual incarceration.

JDAI is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to building better futures for disadvantaged children, and their families, in the United States.

Begun in the 1990s, JDAI's main goal is to identify youth who don't belong in detention and funnel them into less costly, more effective community-based programs. 

Multnomah County's early adoption of the JDAI model has helped us to:

  • Lower the number of juvenile arrests that result in detention
  • Reduce the gap between white and non-white juveniles who are detained following arrest
  • Speed up the rate at which juvenile cases are processed, reducing the length of stay for juveniles held in detention
  • Minimize "failures to appear" for juvenile court hearings, which can lead to juveniles receiving detention

As we continue to operate JDAI to continue reducing our detention populations and ongoing racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. We also now function as a learning laboratory for hundreds of jurisdictions across the U.S., supporting the national expansion of the JDAI change model.

  • We use the Relative Rate Index (RRI) to compare the experiences of different groups of youth within the juvenile justice system.