May 4, 2009 CONTACT: Melanie Ford, County Attorney
St. Louis County Courthouse, Duluth, MN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Phone: 218-726-2323, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
County Attorney Melanie Ford kicks off Juvenile Justice Initiative
County Attorney Melanie Ford marked the start of the County’s new juvenile detention alternatives initiative (JDAI) with a kick-off conference attended by juvenile justice system representatives, community leaders, and community organizations. They met to discuss and implement critical new reforms in the St. Louis County juvenile justice system.
Ford organized the gathering of over 50 individuals, which was led by consultants for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, representatives of JDAI programs in Minnesota, and technical assistants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The Annie E. Casey Foundation has provided support for such initiatives in numerous locations throughout the United States. OJP has also funded JDAI programming in three metro counties in Minnesota. Both have announced they will fund St. Louis County’s initiative as well.
“I know we can do better for our children and our families,” County Attorney Ford stated. “Although we recognize the need for detaining some juveniles, we want to eliminate the inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention. We will work to provide alternatives to detention that both promote children’s well-being, are cost-effective, and make our communities safer. We are especially determined to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.”
“Other communities in which JDAI has been undertaken have had amazing results in reforming current practices and creating a fair and equitable juvenile justice system,” County Attorney Ford added. “Because of the involvement and dedication of our communities and our justice system officials, I expect St. Louis County to see great success as well. I thank all of the organizations and individuals who have come forward to help make this vital project a reality.”
JDAI is a multi-year project in St. Louis County that is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Justice Program’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
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