A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Longtime Kentucky public servant Raymond Debolt named head of state’s Juvenile Justice System

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet has announced that Raymond DeBolt, an attorney with more than four decades of experience in public service and juvenile matters, has been named as the next commissioner for the state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Over the past year, DeBolt has worked as a special assistant to the commissioner, helping develop policies and procedures and representing...

Pew Trusts: Kentucky’s 2014 juvenile justice legislation yielding major benefits across state

By Jake Horowitz and Casey Pheiffer Pew Trusts Juvenile justice reforms enacted by Kentucky in 2014 are creating substantial benefits for youth, families, and communities throughout the state. Between fiscal years 2014 and 2017, the number of youths held in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities fell 34 percent, reflecting a reduction in detentions and commitments for lower-level offenses. In response...

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

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...

KyCIR: Critical safety issues plague Kentucky’s juvenile detention centers, report says

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Kentucky’s juvenile detention centers overuse isolation rooms and lack basic mental health care for the thousands of youths that cycle through the system each year, a state consultant has concluded after an eight-month review. The newly released report states that the commonwealth’s detention centers had no mental health professionals...

Justice Cabinet creates incentive fund to provide alternatives to out-of-home placement for youth

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Department of Juvenile Justice are launching a new incentive fund for local programs that supervise youth in the community, cutting taxpayer costs and reserving secure facilities for only the most serious offenders. The move is part of a comprehensive overhaul of Kentucky’s juvenile justice system – known as Senate Bill 200 – that took effect...

Department of Juvenile Justice to award grants for alternatives to detention programs

On April 1, the Department of Juvenile Justice will begin accepting applications for the Reducing Out-of-Home Placements Grant Program, which supports alternatives to secure detention for low-level juvenile offenders. Approximately $80,000 will be available through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice. The funds have been earmarked for public...

Department of Juvenile Justice youth workers getting double digit pay raise under Bevin proposal

Gov. Matt Bevin joined with Justice Secretary John Tilley and Commissioner Carey Cockerell to announce a double-digit pay raise for entry-level youth workers at the Department of Juvenile Justice. The move, which takes effect in April, will provide a 20 percent increase in entry-level salaries for Youth Worker I positions. In addition, every staff member currently employed in the positions of Youth...

Youth services reform veteran Cockerell picked to lead Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice Department

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley announced that Carey D. Cockerell, the former head of family and child protection in Texas, has been named as the new commissioner for the state Department of Juvenile Justice. Cockerell is taking the department’s helm after more than 40 years of experience in youth programs. As commissioner for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, he implemented...