Pew Center to return to Ky. to suggest juvenile justice and status offender reforms

08/21/2013 09:24 AM

The Pew Charitable Trusts will again help Kentucky lawmakers craft reforms to its corrections process, this time with a package of changes for the 2014 session to make the juvenile justice system more efficient, fair and less costly, said the House Judiciary chairman.

Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, told Pure Politics that the formal announcement will come before a joint task force on the juvenile justice system meets Thursday to begin looking into ways to improve the system.

The Pew Charitable Trusts played a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for changes to Kentucky’s adult corrections system in 2011. House Bill 463 passed that session changed penalties for non-violent drug offenders and diverted more of them into treatment, probation and parole. The Pew Center recently helped Georgia implement a series of justice system reforms, and Tilley said he’s confident they can get a bill with reforms ready for the 2014 session in January.

One of the primary issues is addressing how to handle status offenders. Some judges in Kentucky send juveniles to detention centers for activities that are only illegal because the offenders are underage, such as habitual truancy, underage drinking and smoking.

Tilley said that needs to change.


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