Juvenile justice bill including mandatory detention period moves forward
A juvenile justice reform bill that would require mandatory detention of children accused of violent offenses continues to move through the General Assembly. But the start date for the controversial provision has been pushed back.
Under House Bill 3, juveniles taken into custody for violent offenses would be detained for up to 48 hours as they await a detention hearing.
The mandatory provision is a piece of the bill that's received some pushback.
A Louisville pastor, Edward Palmer, told a Senate committee he worries about the disproportionate effect the reforms could have on Black youth.
Jefferson District Court Chief Judge Jessica Moore also said around 90% of the juveniles arrested for violent offenses are already assigned to detention, but it's important to maintain judges' discretion.
"All of those facts and circumstances that are unique to each youth must be considered and the judges feel very strongly that we are in the best position to consider all those facts and circumstances before making that decision related to detention," she testified.
Sen. Danny Carroll countered that the bill outlines other efforts to help direct juveniles toward treatment and other services.
"It's not simple detention," he said. "There is a mental health assessment that goes along with this, in addition to possible treatment, whether they remain in detention or if they are released. We are moving in that direction. It also allows for community groups to come in to intervene."
The mandatory detention piece has been delayed to July 1, 2024 due to staffing concerns.