Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Policy Reform │Kentucky


In 2012, the Kentucky legislature established a task force to study the Unified Juvenile Code. A report and recommendations by the task force found that significant resources were spent on out-of-home placements for low-level status offenders and the length of time some juvenile offenders spend in out-of-home facilities had increased by as much as 31 percent. Based on task force recommendations, the General Assembly adopted SB 200 in 2014, making several reforms to the juvenile justice system. The reforms are expected to save Kentucky up to $24 million by 2019.

SB 200 (2014)

Creates an enhanced pre-court diversion process for low-level delinquent and status offenders that utilizes a multidisciplinary review team, case management and referrals to services. Restricts commitment of certain low-level juvenile offenders and limits how long they can be placed out-of-home. Limits the use of out-of-home placement as a sanction for probation violations. Requires additional data collection to determine juvenile recidivism and other outcomes, and dedicates savings achieved from reductions in the out-of-home facility population to fund evidence-based programming and a fiscal incentive program. Requires use of a validated risk and needs assessment tool. Creates the juvenile justice oversight council to oversee implementation.

Summaries and links to full legislation can also be found in NCSL’s Juvenile Justice Bill Tracking Database.

Additional Resources

Return to NCSL’s Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Policy Reform page or learn more about NCSL’s Juvenile Justice Program.