Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) & Deep End Reform

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The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners agreed in a 2005 resolution to adopt the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) as a strategy for combating disproportionate minority contact with the corrections system.

JDAI is a nationally recognized, evidence-based juvenile justice system reform project launched in 1992 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The mission of JDAI is to improve public safety and long-term outcomes for juveniles by:

  • Reducing the number of juveniles in secure detention.
  • Eliminating the disproportionate representation of juveniles of color in secure detention.
  • Achieving systematic reform of juvenile detention practices.
  • Developing appropriate and effective detention alternatives for juveniles who should not be held in secure detention.

Deep End Reform began in Ramsey County in 2014 in an effort to reduce reliance on out-of-home placement for court-involved youth. Out-of-home placements have a deeply troubling track record including high rates of recidivism, exorbitant costs, reduction in health and safety and poor outcomes in youth development. By intentionally applying JDAI's approach through data-driven decision making, stakeholder collaboration, increasing community-based alternatives to placement and a laser focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in our juvenile justice system, Ramsey County can substantially reduce reliance on incarceration and out-of-home placement without sacrificing public safety. 


To attend to public safety and promote positive youth development, Ramsey County will operate a fair and equitable juvenile justice system. The juvenile justice system will use data, collaboration, shared accountability, community engagement, decision-point analysis and effective alternatives to detention as essential tools for eliminating racial and ethnic disparities.