Basic services, 2022

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    Locally operated

  • Probation

    Mostly state operated

  • Reentry

    Mostly state operated

In Alabama, juvenile detention and delinquency services are organized at both the state and local level. Detention is primarily administered by county executive entities, but private contractors also administer detention in some counties.

In most counties, community supervision, including aftercare, is performed by juvenile probation staff who are employees of the state court system administered by the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts. In the remaining five counties (Jefferson, Madison, Morgan, Montgomery, and Shelby), these functions are performed by juvenile probation staff who are employees of the county executive offices.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities. Most aftercare services are administered by the Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts, while a few counties administer reentry services locally.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the juvenile court intake officer.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Alabama juvenile correctional facilities. Administrative authorization is required for any confinement lasting more than 8 hours.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

The Alabama Department of Youth Services has the authority to discharge youth subject to a review by the court for release and aftercare arrangements. Risk and needs assessments are utilized as a part of the initial placement process. From this information, interviews, and testing, a treatment plan is developed for the youth. Throughout a youth’s confinement, progress toward meeting the goals of the treatment plan are assessed. When the goals of the treatment plan are substantially met, the youth is recommended for release.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Alabama, most juvenile probation is administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts, however in a few counties probation is administered by county executive offices. The state encourages the use of risk/needs assessment tools at probation intake, but the practice is locally driven at the county level. The state makes training available, but it is not required, and counties are not required to use a specific tool.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
No statewide tool in use

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

In Alabama, The Department of Youth Services (DYS) has a policy requiring screening and assessment at admission to a correctional facility, which includes a mental health screening. Alabama DYS uses the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2) during the admission process. The state funds the use of the tool and provides training on administering it.

Probation and detention settings do not have a uniform mental health screening effort in place, however many detention centers are using the MAYSI-2.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Through strategic planning efforts with Casey (JDAI) Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) began requiring community programs to have an evidence base. DYS has selected EBP's and created a list from which local courts can choose and implement. Courts may choose a program not on the list if they can provide proof of efficacy. Courts have access to a program approved vendor that provide training and technical assistance for the program they select. This is paid for by DYS. These programs are inventoried in a directory and the programs are required to provide outcome data to DYS. DYS does not make this data publicly available

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Does not publish recidivism consistently over time.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

Continue reading »


Tell us what you think of JJGPS. Questions, feedback, or other comments are welcomed.

Questions or feedback »

Follow on Twitter »