LAPORTE | Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos and Juvenile Magistrate Nancy Gettinger held the first LaPorte County JDAI Steering Committee meeting earlier this month. JDAI is the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, which is focused on promoting positive youth development by eliminating unnecessary incarceration while enhancing public safety. Since it was started in 1992, JDAI has grown to approximately 200 sites in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Indiana’s JDAI initiative is a partnership between the Indiana Supreme Court, the Indiana Department of Corrections, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, and the Indiana Department of Child Services.
“It’s a process, not a program,” Gettinger said. She outlined that JDAI is a system to analyze the LaPorte County Juvenile Justice System using the eight core strategies of collaboration, making data driven decisions, instituting objective admissions, introducing alternatives to detention, instituting case processing reforms, identifying special detention cases, reducing racial disparities, and improving conditions of confinement.
Juvenile Services Center Executive Director Erika Stallworth also spoke about the results that other counties in Indiana had seen. “The eight current JDAI counties have seen a reduction in admissions by 44.7 percent,” Stallworth said, “and juvenile felony petitions have fallen by 15.8 percent.”
JDAI is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The primary goal of the Foundation is to foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families.
Judge Alevizos outlined what the JDAI Steering Committee would be doing. “You are a group of high level stakeholders in our community,” Alevizos told the Steering Committee, “You will be responsible for providing guidance and direction for LaPorte County’s JDAI process.”