Programs focused on diverting youth from the juvenile justice system
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that his administration is awarding $445,000 to assist the commonwealth in reducing juvenile crime. The funding will be used to enhance mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, reentry services and school programs to prevent justice system involvement or intervene with first-time and non-serious offenders to divert contact with the juvenile justice system.
The awards are from the Title II Formula Grants Program, administered by the United States Department of Justice.
“Today, like every day, we are creating a better, safer Kentucky for future generations,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our children deserve every opportunity to achieve their dreams and become the leaders of tomorrow. This funding is critical to ensuring they have a chance at a brighter future while reducing crime and creating safer communities, which we all support.”
“Children are less likely to recommit crimes and experience enhanced trauma from parental incarceration when they are diverted from the juvenile justice system,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Vicki Reed. “By remaining in the community and working with a trusted mentor, youth can be steered away from violence and become productive adults."
Recipients of this year’s grant funding include public agencies and nonprofit organizations focused on making communities safer through education, job readiness skills, financial and life skills coaching and holding youth accountable. The funds will also be used to combat racial and ethnic disparities in young women of color and the effects of parental incarceration.
In collaboration with the Beshear-Coleman administration, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) will oversee the Title II grant with a mission of improving the quality of life and reducing recidivism for youth involved in the justice system.
“The awarded projects will support youth and families who have been in contact with the justice system and provide tools and resources as necessary for continued healing and rehabilitation,” JJAB Chair Eric Hawkins said.
"Volunteers of America Mid-States is committed to the health and safety of families in Kentucky,” said Volunteers of America Mid-States Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Hancock. “With our valued partner, Jefferson County Public Schools, these funds will help us expand our work providing early intervention services to elementary, middle and high school students as we work together to promote the success of Louisville's youth."
For a full list of the of the Title II sub-award recipients, click here.
Enhancing public safety has been a priority of Gov. Beshear’s since his time as the state’s attorney general.
Recently, Gov. Beshear began to outline his budget plan for the upcoming state budget. The Governor’s public safety plan includes raising the current $4,300 law enforcement training stipend to an all-time high of $4,800 and providing grant funding to upgrade body armor to protect local law enforcement officers. The plan also moves all statewide law enforcement pension plans back to defined pension benefits (State Police, County Employees-Hazardous, Kentucky Employees-Hazardous). The Governor is also seeking a pay raise for law enforcement with an additional $2,500 raise for all KRS Chapter 16 employees, which includes all troopers, vehicle enforcement officers and a few other job classes.
On March 27, the Governor signed two pieces of legislation into law as part of his solid, aggressive plan to implement the most sweeping improvements in Kentucky’s juvenile justice system in its history. The administration presented its juvenile justice legislative request to the General Assembly on Feb. 14 and the legislators adopted the request. Senate Bill 162 and House Bill 3 have been signed into law further protecting juveniles and staff at all DJJ facilities.
Click here to review some of the actions the administration has taken to support law enforcement, increase public safety and support crime victims.