Losing Juvenile Jails Aids Justice, Some Say

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The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

The floods that followed Hurricane Katrina wiped out all 132 beds at New Orleans’ two juvenile detention facilities. But law enforcement officials and youth advocates have seized the opportunity to offer youths an alternative to being housed in what some have called a “breeding ground” for hardened criminals.

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation, is working with the city’s police and juvenile court judges to detain only violent offenders and release nonviolent youths to their parents with court summonses, electronic monitors and the promise of surprise visits by court staff. The approach has cut arrests by more than 80 percent and court cases by more than 75 percent – at one-tenth the cost of detention. April 4, http://www.nola.com.