2016-08-09 / Front Page

Owen County Courts Intend JDAI Effort To Assist Troubled Youth

Staff Report


Interested individuals from several entities throughout Owen County involved with the community’s youth recently gathered for a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative kick-off event for Owen County. (Staff Photo) Interested individuals from several entities throughout Owen County involved with the community’s youth recently gathered for a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative kick-off event for Owen County. (Staff Photo) For years, the Owen County Juvenile Court has been a leader in limiting the number of youth in detention, providing better outcomes for our children, and ensuring community safety.

Now, Owen County Circuit Courts and Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen have partnered with Annie E. Casey Foundation in participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI).

JDAI is a detention reform and juvenile justice system improvement program initiated over 24 years ago by the Annie Casey Foundation. JDAI utilizes a data-driven approach to aid courts in limiting the number of children in detention, improving community based programing for children and families, and providing outstanding public safety outcomes.

“The juvenile courtroom is the one place where all agencies serving the children and youth intersect. I want to do more than serve this community from just behind the bench,” Judge Thatcher Quillen said. “I want to work with agencies and our community partners to ensure that Orders I make from the bench can be fulfilled. I believe that when the community sees every child as a resource and an investment into the future, our community will thrive. When a child has mentors, friends, praise and acceptance, the future for the child is far better.”

The purpose of the program is to demonstrate jurisdictions can establish effective and efficient systems to accomplish the general purpose of juvenile detention without compromising public safety. The program looks to eliminate inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention for the community’s youth.

Strategies also include reducing failures to appear and re-offense pending dispositions, redirecting public funds to effective juvenile justice and public safety strategies, improving conditions in secure detention facilities, and reducing racial, ethnic and gender disparities.

In Owen County, Judge Thatcher Quillen hears all juvenile delinquency cases, while two probation personnel share JDAI Coordinator duties for the county.

A recent kick-off event for the initiative included establishing a steering committee, chaired by Judge Thatcher Quillen, along with several other steps to be taken in the process of establishing an ideal juvenile detention situation for the county.

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