Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Hennepin County is part of a collaborative effort between members of the juvenile justice system and the community working to create an effective, fair and efficient system that produces positive outcomes for youth, families and communities while protecting public safety.

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) seeks to:

  • Eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention for our community’s youth
  • Prevent racial and ethnic disparities
  • Redirect resources to effective community-based and culturally appropriate services for youth and their families

Deep End Initiative

Hennepin County has joined Annie E. Casey Foundation in expanding JDAI’s focus to reduce commitment and out-of-home placement to what Annie E. Casey is calling the “Deep End” Initiative. Hennepin County's JDAI Deep End goals will work to reduce commitments and placements, especially for youth of color, largely by “narrowing the pipeline” of youth in the system and by embracing greater reliance on community-based and family-focused interventions.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation helps implement JDAI across the United States. All sites operate under eight core strategies.

Who is in the JDAI collaborative?

As a true collaborative, committed internal and external stakeholders comprise the Hennepin County JDAI Executive Steering Committee and several subcommittees. Members represent the Fourth District Court, Juvenile Probation, the County Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, school districts, law enforcement agencies, parents, youth and members of the community.

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Check back for future events!

Facts and statistics

Facts you should know

  • Detained youth are more likely to be formally prosecuted, adjudicated and committed than children who are not detained for similar offenses.
  • Prior detention is a stronger predictor of recidivism than gang membership, poor parental relations and prior offense history.
  • Detention significantly decreases youth connection to school and increases drop-out odds.

Since the implementation of JDAI in Hennepin County (2006)

  • The average daily population of juveniles in detention has decreased by 61 percent from 2005 through 2015.
  • The number of annual admissions to the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) has decreased by 63 percent.

For more information, please review the JDAI fact sheet (DOC).

Terms, abbreviations and acronyms

We want to ensure the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is effective, efficient and helpful. This alphabetical listing of terms, abbreviations and acronyms will help you understand the information in this website and use the programs within this initiative.



(ADJ) Adjudicated
The term used in juvenile court to indicate that a youth has been found to have committed a delinquent act (equivalent to “guilty” in adult court).

Adjudicatory hearing
The hearing equivalent to a trial in adult court. Juvenile hearings are held before a judge; youth do not have a right to a trial by jury unless they have been designated as an EJJ (Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile).

A cohesive set of support services designed to provide assistance to youth returning to their community and/or a new living situation following their release from a secure or nonsecure program, residential placement or treatment program. Services are designed to assist youth in making a successful transition into the community.

(ADP) Average daily population
The average number of detained youth at the Juvenile Detention Center each day of the month.

(AECF) Annie E. Casey Foundation
A private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. AECF is the creator and initial funder of JDAI sites.

(AFTP) Adolescent female treatment program
The Hennepin County Home School's long-term residential program for girls.

(AFSHS) Adolescent and Family Sexual Health Services 
AFSHS is a family-centered, sexual offense specific treatment program for the assessment and treatment of adolescent males who have offended in sexually inappropriate or harmful ways. AFSHS offers a comprehensive therapeutic approach including psychosexual and psychiatric evaluations, sexual health education, chemical dependency treatment, and individual, family and group therapy.


(ALOS) Average length of stay
The average number of days detained youth stay at the Juvenile Detention Center per visit.

(A&D) Apprehension and detention warrant
A warrant for detention issued by Juvenile Probation for violations such as failing a placement or absenting home.

When a youth is arrested and taken into immediate custody by the police or a probation officer before court papers are filed in the interest of the youth's and the public's safety.

Arraignment hearing
Usually the child's initial hearing, at which time the court ensures the child and parents understand their rights, the charge and any possible consequences. The child must admit or deny the charge at this time.

(ART) Aggression replacement training
A proven intervention designed to alter the behavior of aggressive youth, to reduce anti-social behaviors and to offer an alternative of pro-social skills

(ATD) Alternative to detention
An option that allows a youth to receive services before or after adjudication that avoid inappropriate detention or incarceration in a secure facility.

Evaluation or appraisal of a candidate’s suitability for placement in a specific treatment modality/setting and the relationship to custody and supervision. In mental health, an assessment refers to comprehensive information required for the diagnosis of a mental health disorder. An assessment differs from a screening, which is used to determine if an assessment is needed.


The former short-term residential work program for males 13 to 18 convicted of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony without histories of untreated impulsive aggressive behaviors. Beta was replaced by MET (Monitoring, Education & Training) in June 2009.

Best practice
Strategies and programs demonstrated through research and evaluation to be effective at preventing or intervening in juvenile delinquency. Best practice models include program models that have shown, through rigorous evaluation and replication, to achieve target outcomes. Model programs can come from many valid sources, e.g., Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Model Programs Guide, Blueprints, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Model Programs, state model program resources, etc.

(BI) Brief intervention
A counseling and/or mentoring intervention for youth experiencing problems with experimental or casual drug use.

(BW) Bench warrant
A warrant for detention issued by a judge when a youth fails to appear for certain types of hearings or while on Electronic Home Monitoring.


(CAL) Community alternatives liaison
A staff person part of the JDAI team who coordinates and monitors community-based programming and alternatives to detention and is responsible for engaging and educating the community about JDAI.

(CD) Chemical dependency wraparound
A collaborative strategic planning process to address a youth's chemical dependency issues, driven by identified needs and strengths voiced by the family.

(“Cert”) Certification
The process by which a juvenile is permitted to stand trial in adult court and receive adult sanctions. There must be probable cause that the youth committed the offense and clear and convincing evidence that the case would not be better handled in the juvenile system.

(CHIPS) Children in need of protection or services
The identification of cases where the state's social services office becomes involved in family matters where allegations exist that are related to juvenile delinquency, truancy, child neglect or child abuse.

(CHS) County Home School
The County Home School is a state-licensed residential treatment center for youth ages 12 through 20 who are committed by the court. The campus includes five 24-bed residential cottages - one of which is a transitional living unit - educational facilities, an administration and services building, a horse barn, an indoor riding arena, and recreational areas.

(“Cog”) Cognitive
Usually refers to mental skills, such as reasoning, perception and intuition. It is particularly important that these skills are properly developed during adolescence.

Community based
A facility, program or service located near the juvenile’s home or family, usually a group home or other appropriate setting. Also, this term refers to programs of community supervision and service that maintain community and consumer participation in program planning, operation and evaluation.

Community coaches
An alternative to detention in which youth receive assistance and support by a community-based coach to ensure they attend scheduled court dates and do not commit additional offenses prior to their court dates.

Conditions of confinement
The factors contributing to a youth’s experience in detention, such as whether basic needs are met, whether there is order and safety, and what types of programming are offered.

Court calling reminder program
A volunteer-staffed effort and automated program to contact youth and families to remind them of upcoming juvenile court hearing dates.


A child who is at least 10 years of age but not more than 18 years of age who has committed an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult.

The equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court.

The placement of a youth in a secure facility under court authority at some point between the time of referral to court intake and the time of case disposition. Detention prior to case disposition is known as pre-dispositional detention. Detention after sentencing is known as post-dispositional detention. The reasons for post-dispositional detention generally include awaiting placement, short-term sentencing to detention, or being a danger to self or others.

Detention calendar
The schedule of detention hearings.

Detention hearing
The hearing at which it is determined by the juvenile court judge if the child is to be held in detention until the next court appearance.

Detention review specialist / detention expediter
A staff person responsible for coordinating all detention-related elements of the Juvenile Detention Center, including the tracking of cases suitable for detention alternatives, early release or expediting.

A difference in treatment of juvenile offenders with the same current offense and criminal history.

(“Dispo”) Disposition
The result of a juvenile court sentencing hearing (called a “disposition hearing”).

Disposition hearing
The hearing at which the juvenile court judge decides the appropriate sanctions and necessary follow-up programming for an adjudicated delinquent.

(“Dispo Mod”) Disposition modification
An order to alter the original sentence ordered to a youth if the current custody is not acceptable. The new disposition must serve the best interests of both public safety and the youth.

The degree to which the demographic composition of system-involved youth differs from that of the general at-risk youth population.

A positive alternative program to formal court proceedings for first-time offenders that aims to reduce these youth’s recidivism rates.

(DMC) Disproportionate minority contact confinement
Over-representation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system in comparison to the general population.

(DOCCR) Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation
The Hennepin County department responsible for adult and juvenile corrections.


(EBP) Evidence-based practice
A movement to ensure that instituted programs or initiatives are based on data and “doing what works.”

(EHM) Electronic home monitoring
A management tool to control the detention population, alleviate overcrowding and ensure the youth's appearance at court hearings. Youth on “house arrest” with electronic home monitoring may not leave their home except for school or work obligations, as determined by the court.

(EJJ) Extended jurisdiction juvenile
A designation extending a youth’s juvenile jurisdiction until age 21. The youth receives both a juvenile disposition and an adult sentence. The adult sentence is not implemented unless the youth continues to break the law or does not comply with the juvenile probation conditions.

(ERC) Evening reporting center
A highly accountable alternative to detention and out-of-home placement directing youth toward compliance with court/probation requirements. ERC offers structured activities and directed services in the youth's community during the hours when youth are most likely to participate in delinquent behaviors.

(ERD) Eliminating racial disparities
A JDAI subcommittee tasked with examining court and county decisions for youth involved with the juvenile justice system with a racial- and ethnic-disparities lens.


(FFT) Functional family therapy
A family-based prevention and intervention program that can assist at-risk and juvenile justice system-involved youth.

(FTA) Failure to appear
A statistic measuring the number of youth who fail to appear for scheduled court hearings.


(HSPHD) Human Services and Public Health Department
HSPHD is the Hennepin County department responsible for human/social services provision and public health outreach.


(JDAI) Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
The initiative created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and implemented in Hennepin County in 2006 that promotes changes to policies, practices and programs relating to juvenile detention.

(JDC) Juvenile Detention Center
The Juvenile Detention Center is Hennepin County’s secure detention facility for male and female offenders up to age 18 who are awaiting court disposition.

(JJAC) Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee
The committee charged by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to provide advice and recommendations to the Governor and State Legislature on issues, trends and practices of the state’s juvenile justice system.


(MAIN) Management of adolescent information system
Hennepin County Juvenile Services’ online database used to track and manage system-involved youth.

(MAYSI) Massachusetts youth screening instrument
A paper-and-pencil self-report inventory of 52 questions designed to assist juvenile justice facilities in identifying youth 12 to 17 years old who may have special mental health needs.
(MH) Mental health wraparound
A collaborative strategic planning process to address a youth’s mental health issues, driven by identified needs and strengths voiced by the family.

(MNCIS) Minnesota court information system
Minnesota's person-based, statewide court management system designed to share information between courts and other criminal justice business partners.

(MST) Multi-systemic therapy
An intensive family- and community-based treatment program designed to make positive changes in the various social systems that contribute to the serious antisocial behaviors of children and adolescents who are at-risk for out-of-home placement.


(OHP) Out-of-home placement
A disposition option in which youth are placed out of the home to best serve the interests of the youth and public safety.


(PESQ) Personal experience screening questionnaire
A brief self-report questionnaire that screens 12- to 18-year-olds for substance abuse.

Petty calendar
The schedule of hearings in which petty offense cases are heard.

The period following the imposition of a sanction-ordered or treatment plan decided upon or initiated in a particular case by a juvenile court.

The period after the filing of a charge and prior to a sanction-ordered or treatment plan decided upon or initiated in a particular case by a juvenile court.

Pretrial hearing
A hearing in juvenile court after the child has denied the petition (pled not guilty) to set the trial date and to review the issues and evidence in the case.

Cases in which youth are placed on informal/voluntary or formal/court-ordered supervision. A violation occurs when a youth violates the terms of the probation.


(RAC) Readiness assessment consultation
An analysis conducted by the W. Haywood Burns Institute designed to identify factors influencing progress in a system’s ability to successfully address disproportionate minority confinement.

(RAI) Risk assessment instrument
An objective tool used to determine whether a youth arrested on a new charge that meets JDC (Juvenile Detention Center) detention criteria should be held or released prior to his or her detention hearing, based on the number of risk factors that may impact his or her likelihood to recidivate.

(REGGO) Race, ethnicity, gender, geography, offense
The minimum five factors by which all JDAI data is analyzed.

(“Response Grid”) Juvenile probation violation response grid
A grid designed to formally document and organize the expected responses to a youth's probation violation based on the seriousness of the violation, as well as his or her risk level.

Restorative justice
A theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior through cooperative processes that include all stakeholders.

(RFP) Request for proposals
An invitation created by, for example, Hennepin County, for service providers to submit proposals for specific commodities or services.

(RTC) Residential Treatment Center
A facility offering 24-hour room, board and supervision, as well as educational and mental health services.


Secure correctional facility
Any public or private residential facility that – (A) includes fixtures designed to physically restrict the movements and activities of juveniles or other individuals held in lawful custody; and (B) is used for the placement, after adjudication and disposition, of any juvenile who has been adjudicated as having committed an offense, any non-offender or any other individual convicted of a criminal offense
(STAMP) Short-term adolescent male treatment program
A new community-based intervention for boys ages 13 to 19 that aims to help juvenile male offenders break the cycle of dysfunction. STAMP curricula includes cognitive behavioral skills, anger management, gang interventions, victim impact and chemical dependency.

Status offense
Types of behavior that are illegal for a child, but not for an adult, such as truancy, curfew, etc.

(STS) Sentencing to Service
Sentencing to Service is an alternative sanction for youth who commit low-level offenses. Participants complete community improvement and restoration projects.

STS good time
An incentive policy implemented in November 2008 wherein youth completing two days of STS within 45 days are rewarded by being excused from the third.


(TLC) Transitional living center
A 30-day program located at the County Home School to provide residential and transitional services for boys as they move from out-of-home placement back into the community.


(UA) Urinalysis
A method of drug/alcohol testing.


Warrant purging
A policy limiting the timeframe under which warrants are active. For example, outstanding bench warrants for petty offenses are no longer active once the youth reaches the age of 18.


(YLSI) Youth level of service inventory
A validated risk assessment tool for re-offense tailored to youth ages 12 to 17. It includes consideration of prior/current offenses, family circumstances/parenting, education/employment, peer relations, substance abuse, leisure/recreation and personality/behavior.

Alternatives to detention

The following alternatives to detention help eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention for our community’s youth.

Evening reporting center

The evening reporting center (ERC) is a highly accountable service directing probation clients toward compliance with court orders and probation requirements. Focusing on youth who are at risk for out-of-home placement, the ERC offers programs and services designed to build youth’s assets and provide them with structured, positive activities throughout the evening hours, during which most juvenile crime occurs. Services include:

  • Problem-solving activities
  • Personal development exercises
  • Recreation
  • Strengths-based practices to address delinquent behavior

These services are provided by an ERC supervisor, an ERC specialist, an on-site probation officer, a driver/security staff person and assorted volunteer facilitators.


North Education Center
450 Penn Avenue South
Richfield, MN 55423

South Education Center (Edgewood Elementary)
6601 Xylon Avenue
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428

Community coaches

Community coaches facilitate youth appearances at court hearings to reduce the issuance of detainable bench warrants. The three community-based providers can support up to 25 youth each. Youth are referred to this alternative to detention by:

  • The Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) – when the youth is released on the risk assessment instrument (RAI)
  • Juvenile court – when the youth fails to appear for an initial court hearing
  • Probation officers – to help locate a youth for court or to complete ordered Sentencing to Service (STS) hours

In addition, community coaches may assist youth by providing referrals to community-based agencies, and providing additional support and monitoring to ensure youth do not reoffend between court appearances.

Safe shelters

First-time offending, low-risk youth brought to the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) on probable-cause misdemeanor domestic assault offenses may be transferred to The Bridge for Youth or St. Joseph’s Home for Children to await their detention hearing. This alternative helps support Hennepin County’s goal of using the JDC only for those youth who present a danger to the community or who are at risk of failing to appear for their court date.

The probation response grid

Created by probation stakeholders, the probation response grid (DOC) was created to document and organize expected responses to a youth’s probation violation based on the seriousness of the offense, as well as his or her risk level. It is designed with the expectation that the least-restrictive response is used in each situation. Incentives may also be included to reward positive behavior.

Risk assessment instrument

The risk assessment instrument (RAI) is an objective tool used to determine if a youth arrested on a new charge that meets the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) detention criteria should be held or released prior to his or her detention hearing. On arrival at the JDC, staff members administer the RAI to determine if the youth will be held in the detention center or be released with a pending court date.

The RAI measures a number of risk factors that could impact a youth’s likelihood to reoffend or fail to appear for court if he or she were released.

Risk factors assessed in the RAI include:

  • Prior and pending adjudications
  • Prior appearance failures
  • School or work attendance
  • Residence outside of the seven-county metro area

Depending on the final score, youth are released to a parent/guardian, referred to an alternative to detention or detained in the JDC. Requests for decision overrides are handled by JDC supervisors.

An RAI is also used in courtroom detention hearings to help determine whether detention prior to additional court proceedings is necessary.

Crossover youth initiative

Hennepin County kicked off the crossover youth initiative October 1, 2012, with several goals to benefit the county’s youth. A collaboration of Hennepin County’s Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD), Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCCR), County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and the Fourth Judicial District Court, the initiative serves youth ages 10 through 16 who have a case open to a human services case manager and who have committed a delinquency, making them appropriate for probation supervision.

These youth have been determined to face harsher outcomes and be at greater risk for out-of-home placement. By creating new protocols for these cases, youth are:

  • Assessed by a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) that includes their human services case manager and probation officer, if there is one
  • Engaged in a family meeting with an experienced family group conferencing professional
  • Collaboratively supervised by both their probation officer and their case manager

The primary goals of this initiative

  • To reduce the disproportionate representation of youth of color
  • To reduce the use of out-of-home placement
  • To reduce the use of congregate care

The departments and offices involved are committed to sharing resources, reducing redundancies, improving cross-system collaboration and improving information sharing. The information shared during the MDT meeting, family conference and throughout the crossover youth process leads to more informed decisions. It also encourages input from the youth and families about which services they believe should be added to help these youth succeed in the community.

In the initiative’s first month, 38 cases were initially identified as crossover when referred to the county attorney’s office for charging. Out of those, eight were confirmed to have an open human services case manager and they began the process of review and development of recommendations.

An oversight and implementation committee will troubleshoot issues that arise as the crossover youth initiative continues to examine new cases.

Stay tuned for continued updates regarding this project as it moves forward in 2013.

The JDAI, crossover youth connection

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) has helped coordinate efforts to plan and implement the crossover youth practice model, which has been shown to reduce the use of out-of-home placement and other forms of congregate care, an outcome that parallels JDAI’s goals. The collaboration between HSPHD and DOCCR has been outstanding to date and will continue to move this initiative forward in the months and years to come.


Executive Steering Committee

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is a collaborative effort of key stakeholder groups and the governing body of the initiative whose purpose is to set JDAI’s broad policy and operational guidelines.

ESC meetings are in the community and open to the public. Participation from community members and partners helps reform efforts and it is impossible to achieve desired outcomes without collaboration. The committee also has public forums and other trainings designed to educate the public about JDAI’s mission and the status of juvenile justice reform in Hennepin County. If you would like to become a member of the JDAI Executive Steering Committee, please email JDAI Coordinator Adesola Oni (Jaiyesimi) at adesola.jaiyesimi@hennepin.us.

The ESC includes representatives from:

  • Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation administration
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • County Attorney’s office
  • Public Defender’s office
  • Fourth District Court
  • Hennepin County Board of Commissioners
  • Juvenile probation
  • Juvenile detention
  • Schools
  • Human Services and Public Health Department
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Community leaders
  • Community organizations

Meeting time

  • The third Thursday of February, April, June, August, October and December from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Case Processing / Alternatives to Detention Subcommittee

The Case Processing/Alternatives to Detention Subcommittee’s responsibility is to examine the decision points in Hennepin County’s juvenile justice system.

The committee will specifically discuss the points at which an alternative to detention could best serve youth and ensure all involved stakeholders can facilitate such processing.

Meeting time

  • Last Thursday of every month from 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Eliminating Racial Disparities Subcommittee

One of the primary goals of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), both nationally and in Hennepin County, is to eliminate racial disparities at key decision points within the system and to develop strategies to reduce disproportionate minority confinement.

Using a racial- and ethnic-disparities lens, the Eliminating Racial Disparities (ERD) Subcommittee examines court and county decisions for juveniles involved in the criminal justice system, and creates recommendations to eliminate these disparities at certain decision points in order to reduce disproportionate minority confinement in Hennepin County.

Meeting time

  • First Thursday of the month from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Parent and Family Engagement Subcommittee

The goal of the Parent and Family Engagement Subcommittee is to redefine the way Hennepin County currently engages parents and youth at each stage of the Juvenile Justice System, from initial contact to discharge.

This subcommittee promotes open communication, honesty, respect and community safety by building trusting relationships and providing education.

Meeting time

  • The third Wednesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you are not available to participate in a committee, but would like to still be involved with JDAI events, please contact Adesola Oni (Jaiyesimi) at 612-596-0631 or by email adesola.jaiyesimi@hennepin.us or Taska Welters at 612-543-1365 or by email taska.welters@hennepin.us.

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