The juvenile justice system in Jasper County Missouri seemed to be broken. The county was among the state leaders in both the percentage of juveniles locked up and in the percentage of repeat offenders.
Some change was unavoidable. Since the former detention center in Joplin was deemed inadequate and unsafe earlier this year, the most serious juvenile offenders from Jasper, Newton and Mcdonald Counties have been held at the Greene County Detention Center in Springfield.
Now Jasper County is revamping both its facility and its philosophy. It's adopting a program used in Greene County called the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). The goal is to reduce the need for detention by providing more services such as counseling and life-skill classes that can help guide juveniles toward better choices. JDAI programs are now growing in Jasper County -- and across Missouri and the nation.
Origin and goals of JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative)
How Greene County Missouri has implemented JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative)