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Governor Brownback Signs Juvenile Justice Legislation

by Media Release — last modified Jul 20, 2017 03:22 PM
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today signed into law Senate Bill 367, a comprehensive set of data-driven policy recommendations that will increase public safety, effectively hold juvenile offenders accountable and reduce juvenile justice costs.
Governor Brownback Signs Juvenile Justice Legislation

Governor Brownback signs a bill overhauling the state's juvenile justice system during a ceremony Monday.


April 11, 2016

  Governor Brownback Signs Juvenile Justice Legislation

TOPEKA–Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today signed into law Senate Bill 367, a comprehensive set of data-driven policy recommendations that will increase public safety, effectively hold juvenile offenders accountable and reduce juvenile justice costs. When fully implemented, SB 367 is projected to result in a 60 percent reduction in the out-of-home population by FY 2022 as compared with baseline projections, producing approximately $72 million in reinvestment dollars over five years from FY 2018-2022.

“Juvenile justice reform has been a priority for my administration,” Governor Brownback said. “I appreciate the honest assessment of what’s working and what we could do to better align our state with what the research says works. I wanted to see recommendations that help Kansas protect public safety and improve outcomes across our juvenile justice system. This piece of legislation accomplishes that." 

Senate Bill 367 is based on policy recommendations from the Kansas Juvenile Justice Workgroup.  In June 2015, Gov. Sam Brownback, legislative leaders and Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss tasked a bipartisan, inter-branch workgroup with examining Kansas’ juvenile justice system and recommending comprehensive reforms aimed at protecting public safety, holding offenders accountable, containing costs and improving outcomes for youth, families and communities.

Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick said, "I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish through working together for our kids, families and communities by shifting policy and resources toward smarter strategies that cost less."

The workgroup conducted a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the juvenile justice system, reviewed key data from every stage of case processing and gathered input from those who work on the front lines with youth and their families. In November, the workgroup issued a report containing its findings and the policy recommendations that formed the basis for SB 367.

Highlights of SB 367 include:

  • Establishing a multi-agency, 19-member Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee, tasked with overseeing the implementation of Juvenile Justice Reforms
  • Adopting of rules and regulations for a statewide system of structured, graduated responses to promptly address violations of probation
  • Conducting semi-annual training on evidenced-based practices for all individuals who work with juveniles
  • Expanding early responses through targeted services and interventions
  • Focusing the most costly out-of-home placement resources on more serious, higher-risk youth
  • Defining time frames for case lengths
  • Increasing options for evidence-based programs in the community
  • Establishing a Juvenile Justice Improvement Fund to ensure that costs averted from out-of-home placement are shifted to community-based services

“We took a hard look at our current juvenile justice system to see what wasn’t working,” said Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle. “SB 367 will allow us to remain tough on crime while also being smart on crime by addressing the behaviors that lead youths to break the law in the first place.”

"I appreciate the Kansas judiciary was invited to be part of the workgroup to share its experiences with juvenile justice in Kansas," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "We hope that by providing our perspective on the law and the administration of justice in Kansas, that we helped others develop informed policy."

“This legislation to overhaul the juvenile justice system is long overdue,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley. “For too long we have neglected to help troubled juveniles become productive members of society.”

"This bill improves the Kansas juvenile justice system by focusing on enhancing outcomes for youth and reducing the youth incarceration rate,” said House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs. “As a bi-product of the reform, Kansans will also experience increased public safety and a reduced tax burden.”  

The workgroup was co-chaired by Kansas state Rep. John Rubin and Kansas state Sen. Greg Smith, chairs of the House and Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committees. It also included 15 additional members:

  • Representative Gail Finney, District 84
  • Senator Pat Pettey, District 6
  • Judge Thomas Foster, 10th Judicial District
  • Judge Mary Thrower, 28th Judicial District
  • Judge Delia M. York, 29th Judicial District
  • Mark Gleeson, Office of Judicial Administration
  • Stephanie Springer, 27th Judicial District Chief Court Services Officer
  • Ray Roberts, Secretary, Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC)
  • Terri Williams, Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Services, KDOC
  • Randy Bowman, Director of Community Based Services, KDOC
  • Melody Pappan, Cowley County Youth Services Administrator
  • Jaime Rogers, Deputy Secretary, Kansas Department for Children and Families
  • Trent Wetta, Kansas Legal Services
  • Karen Griffiths, Assistant County Attorney, Norton County
  • Ed Klumpp, Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police and Kansas Sheriffs Association

The Kansas Juvenile Justice Workgroup received technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice.

For more info about SB 367, visit


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