Study: Kansas juvenile arrests drop as reforms get underway

April 26, 2019 - 7:32 pm

A study shows that fewer juveniles have been arrested and held in the Kansas juvenile justice system while the state has been investing in alternatives to incarceration.

The Pew Charitable Trusts found that the number of juvenile arrests in Kansas fell by 29% between 2015 and 2017. Researchers say the state's population of youth placed in detention facilities or group homes declined by 63% from 2015 to 2018.

The changes align with when Kansas began funneling budget savings into community-based therapy and intervention programs designed to keep families together. Lawmakers passed a bill in 2016 to redirect at-risk youth into alternative programs.

Pew research manager Dana Shoenberg says Kansas is an example of how states can reform their juvenile justice system while containing costs.

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