Juvenile justice reform in Kansas was the topic of the Feb 1, 2022 League of Women Voters Topeka-Shawnee County Tuesday Topics presentation by Amy Raymond, Chief of Trial Court Services in the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration. We’ve included highlights of their presentation below. The library is a partner with the League of Women Voters in sharing nonpartisan civic information.
Juvenile Justice Reform
Senate Bill 367 the Juvenile Justice Reform Act passed in 2016 with amendments added in 2017 and 2018, but most of the original bill has stayed intact. Raymond highlighted several sections of this Act.
Case Length Limits (KSA 38-2391)
The overall case length limit shall be calculated based on the adjudicated offense and the results of a risk and needs assessment, as follows:
- Offenders adjudicated for a misdemeanor may remain under the jurisdiction of the court for up to 12 months;
- low-risk and moderate-risk offenders adjudicated for a felony may remain under court jurisdiction for up to 15 months; and
- high-risk offenders adjudicated for a felony may remain under court jurisdiction for up to 18 months.
Probation Limits (KSA 38-2391)
The specific term of probation based on the most serious adjudicated count in combination with the results of a risk and needs assessment:
(A) Low-risk and moderate-risk offenders adjudicated for a misdemeanor and low-risk offenders adjudicated for a felony may be placed on probation for a term up to six months;
(B) high-risk offenders adjudicated for a misdemeanor and moderate-risk offenders adjudicated for a felony may be placed on probation for a term up to nine months; and
(C) high-risk offenders adjudicated for a felony may be placed on probation for a term up to 12 months.
Risk Needs Assessment (KSA 38-2360)
Addresses risk and needs to lower risk of recidivism. Youth Level of Services looks at youth’s friends, recreation, attitudes, education, and other areas to determine what kind of help would lower risk of recidivism.
In Kansas we have two sources of probation services. From the Judicial Branch we have Court Service Officers who primarily handle low-risk and moderate-risk youth. Many officers have degrees in Criminal Justice; others were former law enforcement officers. Training is provided annually. From the county we have Community Corrections officers who handle intensive supervision and high-risk youth.
Validated Tool for Youth Level of Service (YLS)
The tool used is from Multi-Health Systems, a Canadian entity, and is research validated. Kansas went through its own validation study. The purpose was to ensure officers score in the same way so the tool is reliable across Kansas. Bias is addressed in training.
We want to determine if goals are realistic for our youth. Probation can be extended if a youth needs to complete a program or for a good cause. Probation cannot be extended for failure to pay fines or fees.
Evidence-based training is required for Community supervision officers, in-take assessment workers, Juvenile Corrections officers, and any individual who works with juveniles through a contracted organization providing services to juveniles.
Immediate Intervention Programs (KSA 38-2346)
SB367 requires an immediate intervention program be offered to youth charged with a misdemeanor. Plan can be pre filed or post filed. Plan involves multidisciplinary teams (KSA38-2393), standards (KSA38-2385), and funding (KSA75-52, 163). The multidisciplinary teams look at the plan and violations. A first violation cannot go to a prosecutor. It must first be sent to the multidisciplinary team who can revise and extend the plan. If the revised plan is violated, the case can be sent to the prosecutor.
Training for judges and attorneys will be provided on Zoom in 2022. Topics covered in training included adolescent mental health, brain development, legislative updates, principles of effective intervention, and cognitive behavioral intervention.
Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee
This committee monitors juvenile justice reform and determines if we are on track with training, data, and what was done with reinvestment funds.
Money was shifted from incarcerating kids to serving kids in the community. Money is also used for training and data systems. Details about the reinvestment plan are available on the Kansas Department of Corrections website.
Crossover Youth Practice Model
This model comes from Georgetown University and attempts to prevent youth from going deeper into the system. Sedgwick County has had the model. It is currently being piloted in Shawnee and Montgomery Counties.
- Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee
- SB 367: Amendments to the juvenile justice system.
- Georgetown Crossover Youth Practice Model
- Kansas’ 2016 Juvenile Justice Reform from Pew
- Kansas Appleseed: Juvenile Justice
- Progeny is a youth/adult partnership focused on re-imagining the juvenile justice system and reinvestment into community-based alternatives.
- Kansans United for Youth Justice