The Community Diversion unit is responsible for front-end reform and system improvement efforts. The team works to improve outcomes for youth by increasing diversion opportunities, providing technical assistance and implementation support for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), as well as oversight and management of the Virginia Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA).
In 1995, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) "to establish a community-based system of progressive intensive sanctions and services that correspond to the severity of offense and treatment needs."
VJCCCA is meant to:
All 133 cities and counties in Virginia participate in VJCCCA. Benefits of VJCCCA include:
The intent of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) is to change policies, practices and programs to ensure that only those youth who are the greatest risk to public safety are held in secure pre-trial detention. The overall goals are to protect public safety, reduce the unnecessary or inappropriate use of secure detention, and to redirect public finances to more effective purposes.
The initiative, supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is grounded in eight core strategies including collaboration; data-driven decision making; objective admissions screening; alternatives to secure detention; expedited case processing; rigorous facility inspections; and strategies to reduce racial disparities.
In 2017, JDAI celebrated its 25th anniversary and is now operating in more than 300 local jurisdictions across 39 states and the District of Columbia. Since joining JDAI in 2003, Virginia has seen significant reductions in admissions, length of stay, and average daily population in detention centers. JDAI efforts have reduced the number of youth in secure detention, as well as the juvenile justice system overall. A priority of JDAI continues to be the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities across all youth and family-serving agencies.
JDAIconnect is an online platform that is open to anyone. The site provides an array of opportunities for networking, learning, technical assistance, problem solving and sharing experiences in juvenile justice reform.