Santa Cruz County, JDAI Model Site
Santa Cruz County continues 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 20 in 2008. In addition juvenile felony arrests have declined by 48 percent and misdemeanor arrests by 43 percent.
Santa Cruz uses an objective screening process to detain high risk offenders only and has developed alternative programs to keep low and medium risk youth out of detention. Santa Cruz Probation has developed meaningful partnerships with community based organizations which provide culturally responsive alternatives to detention, as well as programming that ranges from diversion to intensive wraparound family services.
The reduction of racial/ethnic disparities and disproportionate minority confinement has been an intregal component of Santa Cruz'a detention reform work. As a result, Santa Cruz has significantly narrowed the gap between Latino youth representation in the general population and Latino youth representation in the juvenile hall population.
Programs that support JDAI: