Kentucky Justice Cabinet awards $900,000 in grants for alternative programs to supervise youth offenders

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The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Department of Juvenile Justice has announced $900,000 in grants for local programs that help supervise youth in the community, allowing Kentucky to focus secure facilities on the most serious offenders.

The grants are part of a new juvenile justice incentive fund that was established this year to support community-based services, treatment programs or alternatives to out-of-home placement. It was a key component in Senate Bill 200, which called for more effective use of government resources and better use of community interventions to hold offenders accountable.

“We are seeing incredible progress with community supervision,” said Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley. “We are cutting taxpayer cost while improving public safety. But most importantly, we are achieving better outcomes for children by keeping them close to their families and holding them accountable closer to home.”

Carey Cockerell, commissioner for the Department of Juvenile Justice, said the competition for funding was impressive, demonstrating the success of Senate Bill 200 in driving community outreach.

“With early intervention, we can prevent these kids from becoming adult offenders, but it takes a smart approach involving both the family and the community,” Commissioner Cockerell said. “I’m glad to see so many qualified programs working with children to provide a better future”

The fund is being administered through a partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), which is acting as the fiscal agent for the grants. Judicial districts and community programs were eligible to receive up to 200,000.

Programs this year include community intervention and prevention, evidence-based mentoring, wraparound services, behavioral health, drug treatment and therapy. Experts from AOC will collect and report on data that judicial districts are required to maintain under the incentive program.

Passed in 2014, SB 200 sought to improve outcomes in the juvenile justice system by expanding access to timely, quality treatment and supervision in the community, focusing the most intensive resources on serious offenders, and enhancing data collection and oversight mechanisms to ensure the policies are working.

So far, it has reduced the department’s total youth population by 60 percent since fall 2013. New commitments fell from 493 in 2013 to 253 last year.

That has allowed the department to realign operations over the past 18 months, reducing dependence on secure facilities and channeling more funds toward community-based practices. Four facilities have been closed or consolidated into the department’s system during that time.

Overall, the reforms have freed up $4 million to reinvest in community supervision, aftercare services, day treatment centers, and the new incentive fund.

Programs that received funding this year include:

• The Early Intervention Pilot Program, Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission – $120,977

• The Youth Strong Initiative, Oldham County Health Department – $179,731

• The Floyd County Juvenile Intervention & Services Program, 31st Judicial District Committee – $150,000

• The Pike County Juvenile Intervention & Services Program, 35th Judicial District Committee – $150,000

• The Four Corners Program, Knox & Laurel-Cumberland Behavioral Health – $161,325

• On TRACK, Fulton County Schools – $83,608

• SAFE, RiverValley Behavioral Health — $54,359

From Justice and Public Safety Cabinet

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