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

purpose of the Juvenile Justice SystemThe Purpose of the Juvenile Justice System


Ramsey County’s JDAI collaborative adheres to a set of core values and principles.



The purpose of the Juvenile Justice System, as agreed to by the Ramsey County JDAI Stakeholder Group, is to attend to public safety and foster positive youth outcomes that are fair and equitable.




To attend to public safety and promote positive youth development, Ramsey County will operate a fair and equitable Juvenile Justice System. The Juvenile Justice System will use data, collaboration, shared accountability, community engagement, decision-point analysis, and effective alternatives to detention (PDF) as essential tools for eliminating racial and ethnic disparities.



Purpose of Detention

Secure detention is for juveniles who are accused of committing a law violation and are at risk to:

  • Re-offend before their next court date
  • Fail to appear in court


Guiding Principles

Picture of two young boysEstablished in 2007 and revised in 2010, the Guiding Principles reflect the Collaborative’s overarching goals and strategies for providing safer communities. To accomplish these goals, stakeholders see themselves as part of the decision process and as accountable to shared outcomes through an agreed memo of understanding (PDF).

  • The core purposes of the Juvenile Justice System are to promote public safety and reduce juvenile delinquency by developing individual responsibility and accountability. These purposes must be pursued through means that are fair, just and recognize the unique characteristics and needs of juveniles.

  • Juveniles who violate the law need to be held accountable. However, non-essential incarceration has been shown to do further damage to juveniles at great expense to taxpayers and public safety. Effective community-based alternatives are necessary to enhance and promote public safety as well as achieve better long-term outcomes for juveniles.

  • To ensure secure detention is used only when appropriate, there is an immediate and critical need to develop viable alternatives for juveniles who are in immediate danger but at low risk of re-offense. It is a priority of this initiative to develop alternatives for these juveniles. This includes secure alternatives (such as staff-secure shelters) when necessary.

  • Ramsey County JDAI in an initiative that strives to eliminate bias and ensure that all juveniles in the Juvenile Justice System – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or physical ability - are treated fairly and equitably.

  • Comprehensively gathering and rigorously analyzing data throughout the Juvenile Justice System is central to our mission. It is critical to ensuring long-term reform, detecting disparate treatment and eliminating inequity in the system.

  • The initiative cannot succeed without the active engagement and full participation of families and communities as stakeholders. Ownership and consensus of all stakeholders is key to:
    • Making system reform work
    • Fostering positive change in juvenile behavior
    • Enhancing opportunities for juveniles to thrive in the community

  • Shared accountability (PDF) among JDAI stakeholder partners is essential to accomplishing our common goal of achieving a Juvenile Justice System that is fair and equitable while attending to public safety and positive youth development. Stakeholders will engage in shared accountability. They will measure and share their outcomes with other stakeholders and the community as it relates to the principles, purpose, and vision.


More Information


Vulnerable Populations in the Juvenile Justice System


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