Jurisdictional reform includes jurisdiction-wide administrative reforms (e.g., using objective decisionmaking protocols, introducing risk assessment instruments), and modifications in how courts process cases involving juveniles, (e.g., establishing specialized courts such as girls’ courts and drug courts), but typically does not require changes to existing laws or ordinances. States that have chosen to address DSO through jurisdictional reform have changed how their juvenile justice systems handle status offenders. Rather than treating status offenders as troubled youths who are spiraling toward serious offending, these States generally regard them as disadvantaged youths in need of care and channel them away from the courts and detention. Several States have taken this approach to DSO.
Forty States have created a separate legal category for status offenses. These systems tend to regard offenders as disadvantaged youth in need of care and recognize the importance of a youth’s family and community environment in treating status offenders. Several different terms have been applied to such youth and their families, such as family in need of service (often simply called FINS), children in need of services (CHINS), and children in need of assistance (CINA).
OJJDP Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders
Best Practices Database
The OJJDP Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders Best Practices Database was created and developed by
Development Services Group
under Cooperative Agreement #2008-JF-FX-0072.