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Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    Mostly state operated

  • Probation

    Mostly state operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

Kentucky's delinquency services are organized at both the state and local level. Nearly all community supervision in Kentucky is administered by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), a state independent juvenile corrections agency, across four service regions. Fayette County has the only locally court administered probation department in the state. Secure detention is similar in that most facilities are administered by DJJ.

The DJJ administers both commitments to state public facilities and reentry services for youth leaving state facilities.

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice administers both commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and reentry services for youth leaving those facilities.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Kentucky's juvenile correctional facilities. Confinement is allowed for up to 5 days for major rule violations. A disciplinary review hearing precedes confinement.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions from the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) can be made by the agency or the committing courts. DJJ generally decides when a juvenile is released from custody unless the court directs otherwise. Additionally, juveniles can petition the court for release. In cases of youth who have been sentenced as Youthful Offenders, the sentencing court makes the determination of release, typically at the age of 18. A risk assessment tool is not currently used to guide release decisions. Notification of discharge letters are mailed to the committing court within seven (7) days prior to release from the program, except in situations where jurisdiction will expire due to the age of the youth.

Risk assessment, 2017

Organization 2013 2017
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Kentucky, nearly all juvenile probation is administered by the Department of Juvenile Justice across service regions. However, a few counties have locally court administered probation departments. The Department of Juvenile Justice has a policy that requires the use of the Kentucky Risk and Criminogenic Needs Assessment (RCNA) in juvenile probation and provides training on the RCNAfor probation officers.

Information from the RCNA is used to develop/inform pre-disposition investigation reports and/or planning, develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assigning probation supervision level, and develop probation case plans. 

Prior to the RCNA, DJJ required the use of the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) statewide. 

Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Risk and Criminogenic Needs Assessment (RCNA)

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Other: Law Enforcement

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

Kentucky requires the use of a research based mental health screening tool in detention and corrections. The Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2) is required by an Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) administrative policy for detention admissions and admission to any of the DJJ residential treatment programs. Some probation and community-based providers use the CRAFFT or the GAIN-Q; these screenings instruments are not governed by policy.

The MAYSI-2 is funded through the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice general fund.

Kentucky DJJ provides automation support for administering the MAYSI-2. Training and technical assistance related to the implementation is also provided.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Kentucky recently enacted Senate Bill 200, the legislation aims to reform Kentucky’s juvenile justice system which includes an emphasis on evidence-based practices. The bill defines "evidence-based practices” as “means policies, procedures, programs, and practices proven by scientific research to reliably produce reductions in recidivism.” Kentucky supports the implementation and proliferation of evidence based programs and practices through policy. Kentucky DJJ currently funds some evidence-based intervention programs. Beginning in July 2016, 50 percent of the money designated to Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) programs will be required to be evidence-based; by 2018, the percentage will increase to 75 percent.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Does not publish recidivism consistently over time.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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