Judge's program aims to save money ... and teens from getting locked up

12/04/2012 04:44 PM

If crime doesn’t pay, neither does locking up teenagers for what are called status offenses.

Kentucky is losing money in the short- and long-term with its policy of allowing judges to sentence teens to detention centers for offenses that are only a crime because of the offender’s age, such as underage drinking or smoking or habitually skipping school.

One Kentucky judge, Campbell County District Judge Karen Thomas, started a program that would link troubled teens with counseling to try to address root causes of troubles — rather than just sending them to a juvenile detention facility.

Senior correspondent Don Weber reported that Thomas wants to use the savings from her approach to fund that counseling and treatment. Watch:

According to the research — and Kentucky advocates and some judges — sending non-violent but troubled teens to a detention center isn’t even an effective strategy. (See Part 1 of the report on status offenders.)

Kentucky Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown said at a Kentucky Youth Advocates’ forum in October that moving away from sentencing status offenders to detention centers requires a philosophical shift within the judicial system.

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.