In October of 2006, the Department of Youth Services of Massachusetts was chosen to participate in an initiative supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, known as the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). The overarching goal of JDAI is to reduce the Commnwealth’s reliance on secure pre-trial detention while at the same time strengthening the juvenile justice system and seeking systemic reform in areas as needed.  

Following the principals of JDAI, and applying the eight core strategies of the initiative, Massachusetts has seen a reduction in the admissions to detention by 54% between 2007 and 2012 and a 68% reduction in beds in secure detention centers during that same time period. 

Bar Chart. Figures for arraignments and detentions show that in 2007, arraignments were at 13,753 with 4,345 detentions. By 2012, this number had decreased to 5,828 arraignments and 1,990 detentions.

Line chart showing that beginning in 2007, the average daily population reached a peak of 253 but decreased to 125 by the third quarter of 2013.

While Massachusetts began as a pilot in two counties, the initiative went to state-wide scale in 2011.  At that time the Governance Committee was established to support a move to bring the progress found in the JDAI initiative to the entire state.  Massachusetts is now a system-wide reform state.  

The work of detention reform is done with many collaborators across the juvenile justice system.  



The Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) in Massachusetts works to ensure that “the right youth, is in the right place, for the right reason.”


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.