Three States Lead the Way for Juvenile Justice Reforms

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With help from The Pew Charitable Trust’s public safety performance project, lawmakers in Georgia, Hawaii, and Kentucky have recently implemented reforms to their juvenile justice codes. These new laws aim to improve juvenile justice outcomes, while using resources more wisely. 

Pew’s work in these states focused on data-driven, research-based reforms that address each state’s unique challenges. Kentucky, for example, passed legislation that is expected to substantially reduce the number of youth who are incarcerated for low-level offenses, while also saving the Commonwealth as much as $24 million over the next five years. Pew’s research revealed that a majority of the children Kentucky incarcerated had committed a low-level offense, or violated a rule of community-based supervision. The state's new law restricts both the out-of-home placement and length-of-stay of lower-level offenders, and provides earlier community-based interventions, which research shows have better outcomes for low-risk youth and cost less than incarceration.   

The following video explains why leaders in Georgia, Hawaii and Kentucky have enacted these important reforms."