Today we continue to realize positive results from our decision in early 2005 to implement a pro-active response to reduce overcrowding in the detention center. Spokane County Juvenile Court Services began exploring alternatives that would achieve public safety, youth accountability and rehabilitation. You can learn more about the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative on the JDAI Website.
The Dangers of Detention
The nation’s use of detention is steadily rising, and facilities are packed with young people who do not meet those high-risk criteria. About 70% of young people are detained for nonviolent offenses. A recent literature review of youth corrections shows that detention has a profoundly negative impact on young people’s mental and physical well-being, their education, and their employment.
Most importantly, for a variety of reasons to be explored, there is credible and significant research that suggests that the experience of detention may make it more likely that youth will continue to engage in delinquent behavior, and that the detention experience may increase the odds that youth will recidivate, further compromising public safety. Learn more at the Justice Policy Institute Website.
Planning & System Improvement Efforts
Misuse of secure detention and overcrowding produces unsafe, unhealthy conditions for both detainees and staff. Crowding increases liability risks and the possibility of litigation. Crowding also puts additional financial pressure on existing facilities (wear and aging of buildings, overtime, emergency needs, and costs that result from crowding).
JDAI Background Information The Annie E Casey Foundation