Juvenile Justice Planning
During the 1990s, Kansans, like other states, became more aware of juvenile crime issues. In 1995, the Kansas Legislature authorized the formation of the Kansas Youth Authority (KYA) whose initial mission was to study juvenile crime issues and make recommendations to the legislature. In 1996, based on the KYA's efforts, the legislature ushered in numerous changes to the Juvenile Offender (JO) code. Most of these changes were effective in 1997. Here are some of the new laws:
- Raising of juvenile court jurisdiction from age 21 to age 23;
- Relaxing of confidentiality laws;
- Allowing for more juveniles to be subject to waiver to adult status. In some cases, juveniles are presumed waived to adult status and must convince the court to treat them as juveniles; (see K.S.A. 38-2347)
- Mandating the use of Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center assessments for all juveniles taken into custody;
- Allowing for some juveniles to receive a "dual sentence." This means, if adjudicated, the juvenile would receive both a juvenile and an adult sentence. If the juvenile fails in the juvenile sentence, the adult sentence is automatically imposed. This is also known as "EJJP" (Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile Prosecution); (see K.S.A. 38-2347)
- Allowing juveniles sentenced to a Correctional Facility to be sentenced for a fixed period of time, according to a sentencing matrix.
Most importantly, the legislature enacted laws giving a new structure to the provision of juvenile services. In 1997, the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority (JJA) was given the task of supervising all juveniles in state custody. They were also authorized to direct local communities throughout the state in planning how to better provide services to its juvenile offenders.
The planning process required each community work out its vision of local juvenile justice through community planning teams. Each local team was required to put its vision into a community plan and submit the plan to the JJA. Funding is to be allocated to each community according to its needs and ability to implement the programs as listed in its plan.
The Johnson County Community Plan can be accessed through the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and through the Johnson County Public Library system.
Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board
The law changes also required each community to implement its plan through the local Board of County Commissioners and thereby to appoint a Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board (JCAB). A primary task for the JCABis to allocate, through the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, fund provided to our county by the JJA. The JCABis made up of community members as required by statute and appointed by the Commission Board. The first Chair of the Johnson County JCABwas Assistant District Atorney, John C. Fritz (August 1999 to August 2000). The current Chair is Donald W. Hymer, Jr., Section Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the District Attorney's Office,( 2010 to current)