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, known as Juvenile Justice Reform. Most of these changes became effective in 1997. The changes put in place at that time were as follows:
- 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.
As a result of the reforms of the mid-1990s, the Juvenile Justice Code became very similar to the Criminal Code for adult offenders and in 2007 the Kansas Supreme Court found the Revised Juvenile Justice Code to be so similar to the adult criminal code that the Kansas Constitution guarantees juveniles in Kansas were to be granted an absolute to a trial by jury.
In 2015, the State of Kanas again undertook the process of reforming the Juvenile Justice Code. This time the committee focused on ways to reduce the number of offenders in out of home of placement and sought to keep more offenders “in the community”, if the juvenile could safely be placed at home. As a result the reforms were codified with the passing of SB 367 ushering Juvenile Justice Reform II. The changes put in place from 2016 through 2018 are as follows:
- Fewer waivers to adult status K.S.A 38-2347
- Restriction of EJJP jurisdiction cases. K.S.A. 38-2347
- Fewer out home placements for juvenile offenders and the closing of group homes.
- Collaboration mandates: Between the courts, schools, probation, detentions centers, prosecutors and the Kansas Department of Corrections.
- A Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee to be formed at state level
- Reduced lengths for probations and fewer revocation of probation findings.
- Fewer offenders detained in local detention centers and fewer offenders sentenced to the Juvenile Correctional Facility
Juvenile Correction Advisory Board (JCAB)
Each community has a local board or JCAB to implement juvenile justice planning as authorized by the local board of county commissioners. One of the primary tasks of the Johnson County JCAB is to allocate, though the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, funds from the Kansas Department of Corrections for use in county for juvenile offenders and their families. The JCAB is made of community members and stake holders in the juvenile justice system which include local law enforcement, school district representatives, mental health providers, and department of correction personnel. Our local Johnson County JCAB meets on the second Friday of the months, 10 months of the year.