JDAI Model Site: Santa Cruz, CA

​By participating in JDAI, Santa Cruz was able to sharply reduce its detention population while concurrently experiencing a reduction in juvenile crime. Santa Cruz's detention reform efforts resulted in saving the county millions of dollars by avoiding the construction and staffing of a new detention facility. Since implementing JDAI, the juvenile hall population has been reduced by more than half, averaging more than 50 youth per day in 1996 and just 18 in 2014. In addition, juvenile felony arrests are down 57 percent and misdemeanor arrests are down 70 percent. Santa Cruz uses an objective screening tool to only detain high-risk offenders and developed alternative programs and procedures for low and medium risk youth. Santa Cruz developed meaningful partnerships with community-based organizations to provide culturally responsive alternatives to detention, as well as programming from diversion to family preservation. The reduction of racial/ethnic disparities and disproportionate minority confinement has been an integral component of their detention reform work. As a result, Santa Cruz has significantly narrowed the gap between Latino youth representation in the general population and the detention population.

Valerie Thompson  (Assistant Chief Probation Officer)
Alicia Ybarra​ (JDAI Model Site Coordinator)     

Santa Cruz Probation Department
PO Box 1812 3650 Graham Hill Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95061










2006 and Before


JDAI Helpdesk at the Pretrial Justice Institute
305 Main Street, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Tel: 240-477-7152 | E-mail: jdaihelpdesk@pretrial.org