State of New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission
The Juvenile Justice Commission is the single agency of State government with centralized authority for planning, policy development and provision of services in the juvenile justice system. The Commission’s three primary responsibilities are the support of local efforts to provide services to at risk and court involved youth; the care, custody, and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders committed to the Commission by the courts; and the supervision of youth on juvenile parole.The Commission is also the lead agency for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in New Jersey. Under the JJC’s leadership, 18 New Jersey counties are now participating in JDAI. New Jersey is the only state to be designated a national model for detention reform by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, because of the pace and breadth of statewide implementation, and because of outcomes achieved. JDAI is safely reducing the unnecessary incarceration of New Jersey’s youth. Average daily population in detention has decreased by 60%, with youth of color accounting for 90% of this drop. Reduced reliance on detention for “rule violators” - youth who are not charged with a new offense – account for a substantial proportion of the overall changes, with reliance on detention for noncompliance with probation or for missing a court date down 70%. At the same time, juvenile arrests continue to decline in New Jersey, and less than 5% of youth are removed from a detention alternative placement due to a new offense. Conditions of confinement in New Jersey’s detention centers are now vastly improved from the dangerous, overcrowded conditions present just over a decade ago. Building on the success of JDAI, the Commission has expanded reform efforts to include a broader focus on overall improvement to the juvenile justice system as a whole. A team of Research & Reform Specialists play a lead role in these system reform efforts at both the state and county level.