K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative
K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative (K-State JJC) — a multi-disciplinary team of experts from Sociology/Criminology, Communication Studies, Family Studies and Human Services, and Kansas State Research and Extension — is collaborating on a project funded by the Kansas Department of Corrections and Kansas Advisory Group.
K-State JJC was awarded a grant, with funds originating from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), a federal office legislated to support delinquency prevention and reduction, including juvenile justice system improvement.
The goal of the project — called Our Town, Our Kids — is to increase local capacity and enhance community collaboration in the area of juvenile justice.
A major catalyst for the grant emerged from state-level reports revealing that 80% of youth in out-of-home placements were assessed at low or medium risk, suggesting that they were inappropriately placed. Further, the 2015 report by the Kansas Department of Corrections found that 54% of youth discharged from group homes were back in residential placements within six months.
In response to these findings, and with support from national and state advocates for positive youth development, the Kansas state legislature passed Senate Bill 367 in 2016. SB 367 restricts the use of out-of-home placement, focuses intensive justice system services on the highest-risk juveniles, and shifts resources toward evidence-based alternatives that allow youth to be supervised safely in their communities while remaining at home. With passage of SB 367, limiting out-of-community residential placements has been projected to save $72 million of state revenue over 5 years.
S.B. 367 is created from the “40 data-driven recommendations” that the 17-member work team provided after conducting in-depth assessments of the Kansas juvenile justice system. The Kansas Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee was created to oversee the implementation of S.B. 367 and to continue assessing the juvenile justice system for further improvement. There are early signs of success with the implementation of S.B. 367 through the closing of one juvenile correctional facility, decline in out-of-home placements, and an increase use of evidenced-based community programming.
The K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative (K-State JJC) project is a response to the passage of SB 367 and represents a “reinvestment in youth that is based on collaboration between different entities within the community or across counties.”
The collaboration includes involvement of local K-State Research and Extension professionals who work in the 23 counties of the 15th/17th/23rd and 25th judicial districts, partner sites for the current project.