Charleston ATI Policy & Planning Team

What: The Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Policy & Planning Team brings together key juvenile justice system stakeholders and community leaders for a 10-month process to collaboratively develop and implement a pilot alternative to incarceration initiative and to learn best practices for developing community-driven alternative-to-incarceration programs for youth in their jurisdiction. Community-driven alternatives-to-incarceration programs serve as an alternative-to-placement, alternative-to-detention, or diversion from formal court-processing for youth who have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Community-driven alternatives to incarceration (ATIs) are operated by local community organizations (non-profit agencies, grassroots neighborhood organizations, and faith-based institutions) in the same neighborhoods where impacted youth and families reside. They make use of “Credible Messengers” (community mentors, parent coaches, and peer leaders), individuals with shared lived experiences, to impact youth and families through transformative relationships. While ATIs are operated by local community organizations, the process of developing appropriate alternatives requires collaboration both from community members and the system stakeholders responsible for the processing of youth through the justice system.

Participants on the ATI Policy and Planning Team will participate in a collaborative planning process to: (1) assess the existing continuum of alternatives to incarceration within their jurisdiction, and analyze existing referral options for justice-involved youth; (2) visit a successful community-driven alternative-to-incarceration initiative in a different jurisdiction to understand program models and best practices; (3) analyze areas of opportunity and barriers to implementation in their jurisdiction; (4) determine a specific decision-making point in the continuum to divert youth and (5) develop a programmatic community-driven alternative to incarceration initiative. The Institute culminates with the development of a pilot initiative and the release of a report to document the Institute participants’ recommendations toward implementing community-driven alternatives to incarceration in their jurisdiction. Selected participants will receive in-depth strategic planning support from Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) and access to a national Learning Community of jurisdictions advocating for and implementing community-driven alternatives to incarceration for youth.

Why: Jurisdictions around the country are recognizing the importance of community-led alternatives to incarceration for youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. States spend $5.7 billion each year imprisoning youth, though the majority of youth are non-violent and could be safely supervised in the community. Indeed, the average daily cost of confining youth is $407.58 per day, which annualizes to $148.767 per year. The most expensive, proven community-based alternative-to-incarceration programs cost on average less than $12,000 per participant. Investing in community-based alternatives is a cost effective option for jurisdictions. Furthermore, evaluations of community-based alternative to incarceration programs have shown that they reduce recidivism rates by approximately 22% while keeping youth safely at home in their communities.

Despite  community organizations that are eager to serve as alternative to incarceration programs and a growing advocacy movement that recognizes that the communities most affected by incarceration are assets in the movement to reduce the over-reliance on the juvenile justice system, implementing community-driven alternative to incarceration initiatives still poses significant challenges. Barriers include strict contracting rules in local jurisdictions,  a lack of authentic system-community partnerships, and a lack of capacity in grassroots community organizations that could implement effective programming for court-involved youth.

As a training and technical assistance provider with concrete experiencing developing and running a community-driven alternative to incarceration program in the South Bronx and training system partners and organizations across the country on community capacity building and alternatives to incarceration,  CCFY will guide system stakeholders and community leaders through assessing their existing continuum of alternatives available to youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, and developing a programmatic initiative to innovate additional alternative to incarceration options for youth. In addition to supporting the group to launch a pilot initiative, CCFY will facilitate the production of a report that outlines concrete recommendations for further implementation in the local jurisdiction.  

Who: The participants in the Alternative to Incarceration Policy and Planning Team are a 12 to 15 member team of senior-level leaders in a jurisdiction with decision-making authority in their agencies, and a recognized track record of advancing innovative and progressive interventions for youth impacted by the juvenile justice system. This team should include: (a) Justice System Stakeholders: executive-level representatives of justice systems with decision-making power who have embraced Alternatives to Incarceration and that are interested in doing so; (b) Faith & Neighborhood Organizations: leaders of faith and neighborhood organizations that work with court-involved youth (a) Credible Messengers: parents of system-involved youth, mentors who are formerly system-involved and youth leaders; (d) Funders: public and private entities that have invested in community-based alternatives or are considering doing so; (e) Social Service Providers: Directors of non-profit agencies that have embraced community-based alternatives ; (f) Policy Advocates: leaders of juvenile justice reform movements that are embracing community-driven solutions. 

Where: The Alternative to Incarceration Policy and Planning Team will meet in various locations in Charleston, South Carolina, staffed by training and technical assistance specialists from CCFY. A delegation of system and community stakeholders from the Institute will visit a comparable jurisdiction that has implemented an alternative to incarceration initiative, providing local system stakeholders and community mentors with tangible examples of how to implement county-wide initiatives.

When: The Alternative to Incarceration Policy and Planning Institute will meet monthly from September 2016-August 2017. Meetings will include eight 2 ½ hour planning sessions and a visit from delegates to a model community-driven alternative to incarceration site.

Session 1: Orientation

September 26th, 2016 

12 – 2 PM

*lunch provided 

The kickoff meeting will orient the members of the Institute to the objectives, process, and timeline of the Alternative to Incarceration Policy & Planning Institute. Final dates for all subsequent sessions will be set during this meeting.
Session 2: Policy Discussion

October 27th, 2016

12- 1 PM 

During this session, CCFY will guide working group members through the process of analyzing their existing continuum of alternatives to incarceration and diversion programs available in their local juvenile justice system. In addition to analyzing and documenting the local continuum of alternative options, the group will identify gaps that could be filled by the creation/expansion of programs operated by local community organizations. The Continuum Analysis Retreat will include ample opportunities for team building among Institute Members.
Session 3: Continuum Analysis

November 21st, 2016

The Institute members will review the completed ATI Continuum analysis and decide collaboratively on the most strategic and viable place in the continuum to concentrate effort to develop an initiative.
Session 5: Determining an Intervention Point

Date Forthcoming 

The Institute Members drill down further into the specific decision-making point where the intervention will occur to determine what policies, agreements, and practices will need to be put in place to divert youth at the chosen point in the continuum.
Session 5: Peer Exchange Immersion Trip

Date Forthcoming 

Selected members of the Institute will travel to a jurisdiction that has successfully implemented a similar initiative at the decision-making point that the Institute has prioritized.
Session 6: Visioning Session

Date Forthcoming 

The Institute will reconvene with a report-back from delegates on their visit to the model site. Working members will recommend an intervention model. Institute members will commit to an implementation plan at a decision-making point.
Session 7: Program Model

Date Forthcoming 

The group will finalize a program model to implement at the chosen intervention point and will establish a plan of action to begin piloting this program model with a few selected young people.
Session 8: Barrier Analysis

Date Forthcoming 

Institute Members will review initial attempts to divert young people from deeper system involvement, with an eye towards analyzing barriers to implementation. The specific barriers that the team will explore are (a) Policy Barriers: do existing policies prohibit or inhibit the diversion of young people to community-based alterantives to incarceration? (b) Viability: are the decision-makers charged with referring/diverting ready to partner with grassroots community partners? (c) Capacity: do the selected community partners have the capacity to serve youth? (d) Funding: what resources will be needed to grow and sustain the ATI efforts?
Session 9: Finalize Plan & Develop Recommendations

Date Forthcoming 

Based on the experience of the pilot project, the Institute Team will finalize recommendations for the development and implementation of one or more community-based alternatives at chosen intervention points in their local system. The recommendations will serve as the blueprint for establishing and expanding the initiative as well as providing recommendations to overcome the barriers to implementation.
Session 10: Report Release

Date Forthcoming 

The Institute Team will review and finalize language for the final report, which will subsequently be released after final editing and production. The Institute members will plan a Report Release Event to share their findings with the broader public and to generate broader buy-in for the blueprint and implementation plan.

How to Apply

Deadline for completed application: Monday, October 17th, 2016.

The ATI Policy and Planning Institute Application must be completed in one sitting. You will need to gather information and prepare answers to questions in advance. To help you prepare, we are listing the questions you need to answer here. Only click the “Application” button when you are ready to submit the entire application.

By applying to the Institute, you are committing to attend monthly meetings, complete work discussed and decided upon by team members and agreeing to a set of core values.

The Core Values include:

  1. I will work to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system.
  2. I will commit to collaborating with both system and community partners.
  3. I will work to build community capacity, strengthening the ability of communities to take care of their young people.
  4. I will participate in a process of collaborative decision-making.
  5. I will share data and information with the goal of getting the best possible outcomes for young people and their families.


  1. Applicant Information (name, contact information)
  2. Organization Information (name, address, phone, and supervisor information)
  3. Describe briefly why you want to participate on the Alternative to Incarceration Policy & Planning Team. How does it align with your agency/organizational goals?
  4. Describe briefly your history working to develop alternatives to incarceration, specifically in collaboration with directly affected communities (500 words or less) (500 words or less)
  5. Describe specific areas where you want to see community resources brought to bear on youth in the juvenile justice system in the upcoming year. In the area of the juvenile justice system where you serve, where do you see a clear need for more structured and intentional partnerships between system stakeholders and community members? (500 words or less) Where do you see an area of intervention?
  6. I can commit to attending monthly ATI Policy & Planning Team meetings.
  7. I can commit to the core values.
  8. I have discussed my participation in the ATI Policy & Planning Institute with my agency’s leadership and have received clearance/approval to participate. (If no, explain).

Application Button


If you have any questions, contact Jesse McGleughlin, CCFY’s Training Coordinator by email