juvenile justice

Beshear signs two juvenile justice bills

BY: - March 27, 2023

Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law on Monday two bills passed by the legislature aimed at improving Kentucky’s juvenile justice system.  The first, House Bill 3, allocates around $20 million to renovate and operate a Jefferson County Youth Detention Center and a facility in Lyndon in Jefferson County. It will also mandate detention for the […]

Bill mandating detention, opening crime records of some juveniles has cleared both chambers

BY: - March 14, 2023

FRANKFORT — A Republican-backed bill that would reopen a juvenile detention center in Louisville and open some minors’ confidential records has now cleared both chambers of the Kentucky legislature. House Bill 3 passed the House in late February and the Senate on Tuesday along party lines, 29-7. Democrats argued unsuccessfully against the bill’s mandatory detention […]

Two juvenile justice bills advance in Kentucky Senate. Here’s what they say. 

BY: - March 1, 2023

Two Senate bills aimed at addressing Kentucky’s juvenile justice issues cleared the Senate Appropriations and Revenue committee unanimously on Wednesday.  The first, SB162, would allot millions of dollars to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)  for salaries, retention, new workers, security upgrades and more – among other things.  Those price tags are: $3.2 million for […]

Juvenile justice bill passes House, would open some minors’ now-confidential records

BY: - February 28, 2023

FRANKFORT —A Republican-backed bill that would reopen a juvenile detention center in Louisville passed the House 79-18 hours after it passed a House committee Tuesday morning.  It may now go to the Senate for a vote. Members of the House Standing Committee On Appropriations And Revenue voted 20-2 – with two passes – to advance House […]


House Bill 3 would lock up more kids, even though research shows detention’s harms

BY: - February 20, 2023

All children deserve a chance to succeed, even those who’ve made mistakes. But when we emphasize detention over the supports that we know make a difference for kids, their ability to thrive is severely hampered and public safety in the commonwealth suffers.  That’s why lawmakers should fix harmful provisions in House Bill 3 before this […]


Kentucky’s juvenile justice challenges cannot be solved through incarceration alone

BY: and - February 16, 2023

It takes just two words to summarize the deeply troubling problems facing Kentucky’s juvenile justice system: systemwide failure.  This is not an indictment of any administration, party, branch of government, or group of children’s advocates.  It’s an indictment of all of us. For years, Kentucky’s system has let down far too many justice-involved youth by […]

Reps. Keturah Herron and Lisa Willner, both Louisville Democrats. Photo by Sarah Ladd for the Kentucky Lantern.

Lawmakers want to bring Louisville juveniles home

BY: and - February 15, 2023

FRANKFORT — While there’s bipartisan support for returning Louisville kids in the juvenile justice system to Jefferson County, at least two Louisville Democratic lawmakers said they would invest in preventive services rather than detention. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday advanced House Bill 3, which provides $8.9 million to renovate and reopen a 40-bed Jefferson […]

Kentucky juvenile justice reforms have multi-million dollar price tags, state budget director says

BY: - February 14, 2023

FRANKFORT — State Budget Director and Executive Cabinet Secretary John Hicks told lawmakers Tuesday that the price tags to support executive branch reforms in the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice are $20 million in the next fiscal year’s operating budget and $26 million in the current capital budget.  Amid discussions about Kentucky’s juvenile justice system, […]

Edward "EJ" LaGant­ta Photo: Kentucky Youth Advocates

EJ was in middle school when he entered Kentucky Juvenile Justice

BY: - February 14, 2023

When Edward “EJ” LaGantta was arrested for the first time, he was in middle school. Not yet a teenager, he was arrested after being in a fight with a white boy.  Louisville’s LaGantta, who is Black, went into juvenile detention for the first of five times, including for truancy.  The white boy, LaGantta heard, went […]

Republican lawmakers call for leadership change in Kentucky juvenile justice

BY: - February 2, 2023

FRANKFORT — Republican lawmakers on Thursday called for a “change in leadership” in response to violence and inadequate care in Kentucky’s juvenile detention facilities.  House Majority Whip Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, called for “an outside trustee” to manage the department and said a legislative work group has asked state Auditor Mike Harmon for a full performance […]

Beshear’s juvenile detention plans include bump in starting salary, building new facilities

BY: - January 19, 2023

Gov. Andy Beshear has announced an increase in starting pay for staff in youth detention centers and unveiled a proposal to build two new facilities to house juveniles. Those and other changes outlined by Beshear on Thursday come amid criticism from Republican lawmakers about the administration’s handling of unsafe and sometimes violent conditions in the […]

Senate unanimously approves legislative investigation of juvenile detention violence

BY: - January 5, 2023

FRANKFORT — Democrats pushed back against Republican criticism of the Beshear administration as the state Senate on Friday unanimously approved creation of a workgroup to investigate violence and dangerous working conditions in Kentucky’s juvenile detention centers. Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, sponsor of the resolution to create the 12-member workgroup, said the detention system, which […]