Because the juvenile justice system involves the interaction of multiple systems, improvements require that all of those systems work together: to guide the reform process; to analyze problems and recommend solutions; to design changes to policies, practices and programs; and to monitor impact. This requires a commitment to joint planning, shared responsibility, and mutual accountability. 

For these reasons, all JDAI sites begin their work by creating a collaborative steering committee and governance structure that includes system and community representatives who have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their agencies or groups. To ensure continued momentum and accountability, the collaborative should be chaired or co-chaired by influential leaders committed to quality pretrial justice for juveniles. JDAI collaboratives should be formally empowered to address detention reform, including racial and ethnic disparities. This may happen through a formal county resolution establishing the collaborative or through a memorandum of understanding signed by the collaborative’s key members. ​​


 Tools & Resources


  JDAI Fundamentals Trainings
  JDAI Model Sites​

Best Practices

​JDAI Steering & Sub Committees​

The governance structure in JDAI sites generally includes a leadership committee and a number of work groups to address specific detention reform strategies. These work groups provide a key opportunity to broaden participation in detention reform by including line staff, supervisors and a broad range of participants that have important contributions to make even if they do not personally have policy making responsibilities. In assessing whether the right people are “at the table”, sites should figure out who really has influence in the jurisdiction, not just who occupies a particular position. ​

JDAI Coordinator

The role of the JDAI Coordinator, is to complete a system wide analysis of the site, make recommendations regarding system changes/improvements to the decision makers, conduct stakeholder consensus groups and assist in the implementation and monitoring of JDAI best practices.​

Work Plans

Effective JDAI collaboratives coordinate system improvements across multiple agencies and areas of work by creating and actively maintaining written work plans which, include specific tasks, assignments, deliverables, and target completion dates. See JDAI Pathways #1 and #2 and review these examples to learn more.​

​MOU/Resolution Establishing JDAI and RED Authority​

JDAI collaboratives should have as an express part of their mandate the responsibility to identify and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the use of detention. See JDAI Pathway #8 to learn more.​

Purpose of Detention Statement

JDAI collaboratives should articulate in writing a consensus definition of the permissible grounds for detaining youth, based on local statutes, the values of local stakeholders, and the shared aspirations of the JDAI collaborative. ​
JDAI Helpdesk at the Pretrial Justice Institute
305 Main Street, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
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