This article is excerpted from Jennifer Fratello, Annie Salsich, & Sara Mogulescu's longer article of the same name published by the Vera Institute of Justice in April 2011. In 2006, faced with the challenges of a juvenile justice system nearing crisis, New York City officials concluded that they had to rethink the city's juvenile detention policies and practices. The development and implementation of the risk-assessment instrument (RAI) and community-based alternatives to detention (ATD) programs represent an important shift in New York City's juvenile detention policy. The RAI provides reliable guidance on risks of failure to appear or rearrest. The ATDs provide effective program alternatives to detention for moderate-risk youth. Given early outcomes, it appears that New York City's reform effort could serve as a model for other jurisdictions seeking to improve outcomes for youth while preserving public safety.

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