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Competing proposals emerge to help Kentucky’s struggling juvenile justice centers

Kentucky’s troubled juvenile justice facilities have put a call on lawmakers to act. Democrats and Republicans have put out different approaches to curb troubled youth away from crime.

Before the 2023 session started, lawmakers formed a work group to investigate the problems in the state’s juvenile justice centers.

The two Democrats in that group said their proposals are more prevention-focused. Meanwhile, the GOP-backed bill that passed the committee Wednesday would bring a facility to Louisville as well as tougher penalties for violent youth and their parents.

“This bill focuses on the children who have found themselves most involved in street life and most involved in serious offending and serves as an intervention point to hopefully get them back on a positive life course,” Josh Crawford, Director Of Criminal Justice Initiatives at the Kentucky Center for Opportunity told lawmakers.

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