Ramsey County, Minnesota
Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)

Creating Better Outcomes for Children and Community in Ramsey County
25 West 7th Street | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
Telephone: 651-266-5307 | AskJDAI@co.ramsey.mn.us

JDAI Logo Ramsey County, Minnesota

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

Creating Better Outcomes for Children and Community in Ramsey County

About JDAI and DMC


About JDAI

Boys in DetentionThe Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) is a nationally recognized, evidence-based juvenile justice system reform project launched in 1992 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


The focus starts with detention for several reasons:

  • National crowding crisis in secure detention facilities
  • Negative impact of secure detention on youth
  • Lack of public safety results from the use of secure detention
  • High cost of secure detention, and
  • Critical entry to overall juvenile justice system change

Essentially, the purpose of JDAI is to demonstrate that jurisdictions can safely reduce reliance on secure detention while maintaining public safety.


The engagement of JDAI is also an approach used to address and reduce the level of disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) in the juvenile justice system.

More Information


About DMC

Disproportionate Minority Confinement and Contact (DMC) is the overrepresentation of any minority group or groups in secure custody, compared to their proportion of the general population.


Picture of youthReducing DMC is a core requirement of the the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Formula Grants Program. Under this program, Minnesota must make efforts to reduce the proportion of youth detained or confined in secure facilities who are members of minority groups, if these numbers exceed their proportion in the general population. States that fail to meet this requirement lose 25-percent of their annual formula grant allocation.


Since DMC is a complex problem that crosses many social systems, Ramsey County’s JDAI/DMC efforts engage community members as well as agency representatives working in tandem to identify and eliminate inequities where they occur in our juvenile justice system.


In 2006, the W. Haywood Burns Institute conducted an evaluation of the internal and external factors contributing to DMC in Ramsey County and assessed our ability to address it. The recommendations of that report, the Readiness Assessment Consultation (PDF), guide our work.

More Information




To improve public safety and long-term outcomes for juveniles in Ramsey County by:

  • Reducing the number of juveniles in secure detention
  • Eliminating the disproportionate representation of juveniles of color in secure detention
  • Achieving systematic reform of juvenile detention practices, and
  • Developing appropriate and effective detention alternatives for juveniles who should not be held in secure detention


James Bell (W. Haywood Burns Institute Training)


[ Video or media that is not able to print. Please view website. ]


View Larger





Thank You for Your Support


We thank the following organizations for their financial contributions toward Ramsey County JDAI efforts: