Indianapolis is playing host this week to a national conference on juvenile detention reform that will highlight the early success of changes at Marion County’s lockup, reports the Indianapolis Star. The event, which started last night, focuses on an approach to juvenile justice that reduces reliance on incarceration. Since the local Juvenile Detention Center adopted the program in 2006, admissions have declined by more than half. More lower-risk offenders are sent home while their delinquency cases are pending.
The program is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. Advocates say keeping youths out of the lockup encourages them to develop community connections instead of learning to become criminals. The conference, which ends tomorrow, was expected to draw about 500 judges, attorneys, advocates and others involved in juvenile justice in 25 states and Washington, D.C.