Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Justice Cabinet officials praise passage and signing of federal compliance bills
FRANKFORT, KY (April 15, 2008) – Justice Cabinet officials today praised the passage and signing into law of two bills that preserve millions of dollars in federal funding by bringing the state into compliance with federal guidelines.
Senate Bill 151, signed Tuesday by Gov. Steve Beshear, prohibits mandatory polygraphing of alleged sex offense victims. The legislation brings Kentucky into compliance with federal guidelines for receiving nearly $1.6 million annually in STOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Formula Grants. These grants are distributed by the Cabinet to agencies throughout the Commonwealth that serve victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“Many important programs depend on these grants to operate,” said Tanya Dickinson, Grants Branch Manager for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. “As with many federal programs, VAWA grants have seen reductions in recent years, making the dollars currently received all the more precious and in need of preservation.” Senate Bill 151 was sponsored by Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.
House Bill 384, signed Monday by Gov. Beshear, brings state law into compliance with the federal Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP Act) of 2002, and aims to reduce the number of status offenders and dependent, neglected and abused children, or “non-offenders,” who are inappropriately or unnecessarily placed in secure detention.
From 2004 to 2006, more than 4,300 Kentucky youth were placed in secure detention for violations of valid court orders alone, on status offenses which would not even be criminal conduct if committed by an adult.
“Had this bill not passed this session, Kentucky would have begun to lose part of the approximately $750,000 federal funds received annually to provide important statewide programs such as Alternatives to Detention, Disproportionate Minority Contact, and Improvement of the Juvenile Justice System,” said Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown.
House Bill 384 was sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington.
Senate Bill 151:
• No law enforcement officer, prosecuting officer or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sex offense, as defined under Federal, Indian tribal government, state, territorial government, or unit of local law, to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of such an offense.
• The refusal of a victim to submit to a polygraph or other truth telling examination shall not prevent the investigation, charging, or prosecution of an alleged sex offense by a state, Indian tribal government, territorial government, or unit of local government.
House Bill 384:
• Creates a definition in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) to mirror the federal definition for a “non-offender” (dependent, neglected or abused child), and prohibits secure detainment of these children in juvenile justice detention facilities.
• Updates the KRS to include additional status offenses defined in the JJDP Act of 2002, including underage possession of alcohol and possession/consumption of tobacco products.
• Restricts the time frames for the secure detention of status offenders and requires that a written report be prepared each time a youth enters secure detention.
• Clarifies that a judge must provide each status offender with a written Valid Court Order (VCO) which sets forth the consequences of violating the VCO, such as secure detention.
• Requires that each status offender be represented by counsel if the judge issues a VCO.