The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is one of the five departments under the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. While holding youth accountable for their actions, the Department of Juvenile Justice is responsible for prevention programs for at-risk youth in communities all over the Commonwealth. Led by Commissioner LaShana Harris, the Department is a multi-faceted agency that serves the Commonwealth's youth as the juvenile corrections system for the state. The DJJ is responsible for prevention programs for at-risk youth, court intake, pre-trial detention, residential placement and treatment services, probation, community aftercare, and reintegration programs, as well as the confinement of youth awaiting adult placement or court.
With the passage of House Bill 117, Kentucky's General Assembly established the Department of Juvenile Justice in 1996. The Department strives to promote a comprehensive array of cost-effective services for at-risk youth. These services are directed toward prevented delinquency, providing efficient rehabilitation services, and altering the rate of recidivism with appropriate aftercare while minimizing risk to the community. In providing services, the DJJ supports and believes in the complete involvement of both the family and the community in the rehabilitation of troubled youth.
Kentucky’s Department of Juvenile Justice has been nationally recognized for the continuum of care it provides for rehabilitating delinquent youth. While many state’s out-of-home placement options are limited to two or three large institutions, Kentucky is able to serve youth in a variety of small programs designed to meet specific treatment needs.