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Juvenile Justice Reform

Concerning changes to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2019 Regular Session
Children & Domestic Matters
Bill Summary

The bill establishes a committee on juvenile justice reform (committee) in the governor's office and establishes its membership. The bill specifies duties of the committee including:

  • Adopting a validated risk and needs assessment tool to be used by juvenile courts, the division of youth services (DYS), juvenile probation, and the parole department;
  • Selecting a mental health screening tool for juvenile offenders;
  • Selecting a validated risk screening tool to be used by district attorneys in determining a juvenile's eligibility for diversion;
  • Selecting a vendor to assist in the implementation of and provide training on the tools; and
  • Developing plans for measuring the effectiveness of the tools.

Under current law, there is a working group under DYS on detention of juvenile offenders and alternative services to detention. The bill adds to the working group's duties that it must:

  • Adopt a research-based detention screening instrument, develop a plan for training on the new instrument, and submit a report on the use of the new instrument;
  • Establish criteria for the alternative services and report on the effectiveness of the alternative services; and
  • Adopt a form affidavit for parents and guardians to complete.

The bill requires district attorney's offices to use the risk screening tools and the results of the tools in determining a juvenile's eligibility for diversion and need for services. It specifies grounds that may not be used to deny diversion and directs the division of criminal justice to collect data and report on juvenile diversion programs.

The bill restricts removing a juvenile from the custody of a parent, unless the detention screening is conducted and specified findings are made, and directs that unless physical restriction is required, custody of the juvenile is given to kin or another person. It limits which juveniles may be placed in detention. In releasing a juvenile from detention, the bill requires the juvenile court to use the detention screening instrument.

For juvenile probation, the bill requires the state court administrator to:

  • Develop a statewide system of graduated responses and incentives to change a juvenile's behavior and address violations; and
  • Develop statewide standards for juvenile probation supervision and services and provide annual training on the standards.

The bill makes conforming amendments.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)




Bill Text