Home ¬Ľ Juvenile Justice Law focuses on treatment instead of detention

Juvenile Justice Law focuses on treatment instead of detention

Calls for early intervention programs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2014) ‚ÄĒ Gov. Steve Beshear today joined state and local leaders¬†to sign legislation¬†that revamps Kentucky‚Äôs juvenile justice system by¬†steering more young offenders into community-based treatment instead of locking them up in detention centers.

American justice seriesSenate Bill 200 calls for early intervention programs and an enhanced pre-court process for youth who are habitual runaways or engage in certain non-violent acts, such as truancy. Under the law, before cases are referred to the county attorney, court designated workers will use evidence-based tools to screen and assess youth and make referrals for appropriate services. The reforms are expected to reduce the number of status and public offenders entering the court system.

‚ÄúSenate Bill 200 represents an important first step in addressing juvenile justice reform in our commonwealth, and gives us the opportunity to address the underlying issues that are often the cause of young people acting out,‚ÄĚ Beshear said.¬†‚ÄúThe result is less crime, smarter spending, and better outcomes for Kentucky‚Äôs most-troubled kids.‚ÄĚ

The bill limits the commitment of certain lower-level offenders and how long they may be placed out-of-home, reserving longer placement in expensive out-of-home facilities for more serious offenders.

The bill also establishes an oversight council, which will monitor the effectiveness of the policies and make recommendations based on the findings.  And it directs that any savings achieved from the reforms be reinvested into a fiscal incentive program for local evidence-based prevention programs.