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Youth alternative detention program expanding

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The state’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is expanding into more counties, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Thursday, thanks to more than $5 million in funding appropriated by the Legislature.

With the $5.5 million to be dolled out over the next two years, several counties will become JDAI sites. Those specific counties will not be announced until January, although the court noted in the news release that 11 counties have applied.

JDAI is a national juvenile justice reform initiative developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation 20 years ago that aims to improve outcomes for children in the system while ensuring public safety. Marion County was the first in the state to participate in 2006. Clark, Elkhart, Howard, Johnson, Lake, Porter and Tippecanoe counties have since joined.

As a result of the expansion, as many as 56 percent of Indiana youth ages 10-17 will live in a JDAI county.

“This initiative allows kids to not be exposed to the detention (jail) environment if it’s determined they are not a risk to the public,” said Mary Allen, executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

JDAI is overseen in Indiana by an executive team consisting of the ICJI, the Indiana Supreme Court, the Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Department of Child Services.

 

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