The House and Senate have sent Gov. Sam Brownback a bill that would remake juvenile justice by reducing punishments for less serious offenses.
Senate Bill 367 would set limits on youth incarceration and probation, direct state officials to come up with a consistent system of consequences for technical parole violations and reduce the use of juvenile detention, among other changes.
Supporters charged that the state was locking up too many low-level young offenders without evidence that doing so improved their outcomes. Some of the bill’s provisions came from recommendations by a workgroup of legislators and staff in the juvenile justice system, as well as researchers from the Pew Charitable Trust.
Senator Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican, said the House extended some time limits, clarified that programs for young offenders should be evidence-based and added a “lockbox” provision to ensure that savings from reduced incarceration rates would go toward community-based programs.