Community Diversion

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).

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

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 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.

Virginia Juvenile 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:

  • Be a community-based system;
  • Be made up of progressive intensive sanctions and services;
  • Correspond with the severity of the offense and treatment needs; encourage communities to develop, implement, operate and evaluate programs and services responsive to juvenile offender needs and crime trends in their community;
  • Provide an adequate level of services available to every Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court;
  • Allow local autonomy and flexibility in addressing juvenile crime;
  • Encourage public and private partnership in the design and delivery of services;
  • Emphasize parental responsibility, through services that hold juveniles and families accountable for their behavior;
  • Facilitate a locally driven statewide planning process for allocating state resources; and
  • Provide adequate service capacity

All 133 cities and counties in Virginia participate in VJCCCA. Benefits of VJCCCA include:

  • Judges have additional alternative sentencing options;
  • Communities have received additional funding to create or enhance programs that they have needed for some time;
  • Localities have greater flexibility to design programs to meet the needs of their communities;
  • The number and variety of programs and services available for youth has increased in most communities, and;
  • Programs and services appear to be serving more youth in their own community
VJCCCA Regional Map