In 2006, CJC began working with juvenile justice stakeholders to develop a new
continuum of Alternative to Detention (ATD) programs for youth with cases
pending in Family Court who could be safely released to the community with
appropriate supervision. A key component of the initiative was the development
of a first-of-its-kind Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI) to help identify youth
who would be most appropriate for ATD services. In partnership with the
Vera Institute of Justice, CJC developed the RAI based on objective standards
that should guide juvenile detention decisions. Based on information collected
using the RAI, youth are placed into three categories: high-risk youth, for whom
detention may be appropriate; low-risk youth, who are eligible for release to
the community with no formal court supervision; and mid-risk juveniles who are
suitable for release with supervision through a continuum of ATD programs.
Implementation of the RAI began in June 2007, and as of August 2009, 54% of
youth were identified as low risk, 34% as mid risk, and 13% as high risk.
Detention has decreased from 24% to 9% for low-risk youth and from 39% to 32% for mid-risk youth. The detention rate for high-risk youth has increased from
49% to 70%. By detaining more high-risk kids, offering better services to
and stronger community supervision of mid-risk kids, and making sure that as
few low-risk kids as possible are detained, we have cut in half the rate at
which juveniles are re-arrested while awaiting the outcomes of their cases, from
26% to 13%.