Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Task Force on the Unified Juvenile Code was held on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative John Tilley, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Whitney Westerfield, Co-Chair; Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; Harry L. Berry, Hasan Davis, Laurie Dudgeon for Justice Mary Noble, Glenda Edwards, Steven Gold, Teresa James, Lisa P. Jones, Bo Matthews, Pamela Priddy, and John Sivley.
Guest Legislator: Representative Dennis Horlander.
Guests: Wayne Young for KASA; Erik Jarboe for LearNet; Marty White for KASS; and Clyde Caudill for KASA and JCPS.
Approval of Minutes
There was a motion by Mr. Mathews to approve the minutes of the August 22, 2013 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Davis and approved by voice vote.
Juvenile Corrections System Drivers Analysis
Pamela Lachman, Senior Associate, Research, Public Safety Performance Project, and Sonja Hallum, Senior Associate, State Policy, Public Safety Performance Project, presented an overview of the Kentucky juvenile corrections system drivers. Ms. Lachman reported that more than half of the Department for Juvenile Justice (DJJ) population is in the community, with only 40 percent being in out of home care. With 60 percent of the population in the community, only 21 percent of the budget is spent in the community, with more than half of the budget going to out of home care and detention. DJJ spends more than 55 percent of its $102 million budget on out of home placement and detention. Ms. Lachman noted that a majority of the beds cost over $87,000 per year, and that beds in group homes are the most expensive, costing over $97,000 per year.
A majority of the youth out of home are in a youth detention center or boot camp. Even though the out of home population has gone down in the last decade, there has been a recent spike, with a 16 percent increase from 2012-2013. There are differing trends in out of home placement types, and the majority decline has been in group homes, which is down 69 percent from 2002-2013. The community supervision population is also down, with a 36 percent decline from 2002-2013.
Ms. Lachman gave an overview of the DJJ population in detention. Public offenders use a majority of detention beds, with only 13 percent going to status offenders. Public offenders also have the most bookings, with longer stays. Public offenders stay 2.4 times as long as status offenders.
Ms. Lachman discussed characteristics of youth disposed to DJJ. The number of youth disposed to DJJ is falling, with a 22 percent decline in the past decade. The majority of the population is male, with only 15 percent being female. There are slightly older youth in 2012 than in 2002, and the increasing proportion of youth disposed to DJJ is misdemeanants and violators. Misdemeanors and probation violations are top offenses.
Ms. Lachman discussed placement trends of youth disposed to DJJ. She reported that a majority of the youth spend time out of home, with misdemeanants and violators being the majority in each placement. In youth detention centers and boot camps, the proportion of misdemeanants and violators is increasing. In the community, there is also a decline in the number of felons, down 13 percent since 2002. Probation violations are now the most common offense prior to out of home placement. Youth level of service profiles vary by placement type, with the majority being moderate risk.
Ms. Lachman discussed the length of state of youth disposed to DJJ. Even though cases are open for a shorter amount of time, there is more involvement. Over 40 percent of DJJ cases are closed after the youth turns 18. There is a slightly longer stay in out of home placement despite the recent decline, with stays having a 6 percent increase from 2002-2012. Length of stay is down in youth detention centers, but up in group homes, but there is little difference in length of stay in youth detention centers and boot camps. Out of home length of stay is up across all offense types.
Responding to a question by Mr. Mathews, Ms. Lachman said that a schools day treatment facility funding comes out of the community budget.
Responding to a question by Ms. Priddy, Ms. Lachman said in the last year there has been a slight uptick in the out of home placement population, with a 16 percent increase from 2012-2013.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that youth detention centers have 444 beds, the regional detention center capacity is 356 beds and group homes have an 80 bed capacity.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that boot camps are considered youth detention centers. They are designed for male youth to spend 4 months in the facility and then 4 months in the community in an aftercare program.
Responding to a question by Representative Tilley, Ms. Lachman said that she would discuss the specifics of what is involved in a youth detention center and boot camp setting in future presentations.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that the 1 percent undefined group that is mentioned has no status reported, but they are believed to be public offenders.
Responding to a question by Commissioner Davis, the average number of days is 6.4, and the length of stay is 15-20 days.
Responding to a question by Judge Jones, Ms. Lachman said that status offenders are stay until they can be released to parents, or because of a valid court order of incarceration.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that there are very few youth offenders under the age of 11.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that she will provide information on what classes of felonies exist, and if more are drug offenses or property offenses, and she will provide that information by geographic breakdown.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that all the areas are in separate budget selections.
Responding to question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that she will discuss the recidivism rates in later slides, but the information she can share is limited. She said that, in regard to looking at prior history and prior offenses as well as risk level, she is looking at the best way to measure recidivism rates to most accurately reflect the youth’s prior history.
Responding to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said that the 10 most restrictive out-of-home placements will be broken down by region.
In response to a question by Representative Horlander, Ms. Lachman said the percentages mentioned are a percentage of the total number of youth disposed to DJJ or youth in a specific placement.
In response to a question by Mr. Gold, Ms. Lachman said she is looking at what types of violations are occurring, whether they are technical or new offenses. DJJ is only required to bring a probation violation back to court for an AWOL case or a new offense.
In response to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said she will address high risk youth and detention stays in the next presentation that deals with research on evidence based practice and what types of placements are best for certain types of youth.
In response to a question by Ms. Edwards, Ms. Lachman said that probated youth are already under DJJ supervision.
In response to a question by Judge Jones, Ms. Lachman said the Project could break down the data for 18 year olds once they are disposed to aid with recidivism data.
In response to a question by Senator Westerfield, Ms. Lachman said Kentucky is holding the misdemeanants and felons for the same amount of time. She noted that for the next meeting she will summarize where the youth are, what CDWs do, and how youth are ending up with DCBS.
Ms. Hallum discussed future presentations. There are three pieces to the next presentation. It will consist of part II of the drivers analysis and systems assessment, which will give the big picture flow through the systems. The information will also address questions asked during the meeting, including the drivers of the out of home populations, and research on best practices addressing juvenile defenders.
Responding to a question by Dr. Sivley, Ms. Lachman said she would research if there is evidence or findings to indicate that certain levels of restrictiveness are any more beneficial than community based treatment.
Judge Jones added that it would be beneficial to find out the original offenses of the children committed to the cabinet as status offenders. Senator Westerfield commented that was a good request and he has no way to quantify how many children committed there are not being reported somewhere else. Ms. Dudgeon said AOC would be able to help with some of the date for that request.
Ms. Hallum added that the next presentation will consist of the data piece and a systems assessment piece since the organization is looking at the entire system for Kentucky. She does not have necessary data from the cabinet, but there has been a workgroup created to pull the data together.
Commissioner James noted that DCBS and DJJ’s numbers do not look dramatically different in terms of residential care and more intensive, restrictive environments. She would jointly like to see more in-home services and more community-based services. There is a vast amount of data at DCBS, which she looks forward sharing.
Senator Westerfield said that any Department for Education data that would not show up anywhere else could be submitted that as well. Commissioner Davis said that, if the Department for Education tracks referrals through the court, AOC would get that information and be able to track it. Representative Tilley asked for the schools to submit any data that would be relevant to the task force. Laurie Dudgeon said that AOC does not have suspension data that does not show up in a complaint.
In response to a question by Ms. Edwards, Ms. Lachman said that the average detention length of stay is 6.4 days, and the vast majority of status offenders are contempt or in violation of a court order. Some youth are there as pre-adjudication for a status offense, and there are also youth disposed of at detention, which can also increase the length of stay. She said it can be looked into in more detail, but she is limited by the data.
In response to a question by Judge Jones, Ms. Lachman said she will look at how Kentucky divides up jurisdictions, and if there is a difference in the treatment of delinquents. She said when they integrate the information, she will look into which counties fall into what district and which districts are Circuit Court only, rather than Circuit and Family Court.
Mr. Gold said that, in Henderson, school wide information data told what interventions happened and what behaviors were displayed at the school level.
Commissioner Davis said Kentucky has a system that is doing more harm than good. The data will help move Kentucky in a new direction without question and debate. The big picture is that all children in Kentucky should be safe, supported, and prepared to be successful.
Representative Tilley said problems with the juvenile justice system have been building for some time. It is a huge system with multiple moving parts, and the work of the task force will move the system to a better place.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.