Kentucky House passes bill addressing rising rate of violent juvenile crime

The measure is designed to reduce crime through intervention and accountability

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky House on Monday passed a bill designed to reduce violent juvenile crime.  The vote was 73-19.

House Bill 318 is sponsored by Republican Kevin Bratcher, of Louisville.

 “There has been a sharp increase of violent juvenile offenders, and this problem needs to be addressed immediately. Two ways we can decrease the violence is through intervention and accountability. This measure does exactly that. It holds young people accountable by requiring juveniles charged with a serious felony to be held in custody up to 48 hours before a hearing. Currently, a juvenile is released almost immediately after the crime is committed,” Rep. Bratcher said.

 HB 318 also addresses parental cooperation in transporting children to a diversion program. Currently, if a juvenile cannot attend a diversion program because the parents are uncooperative, the child is held at fault, not the parents. A diversion program is a rehabilitation program to help resolve certain behaviors which led to the juvenile’s arrest. The measure addresses this problem by allowing judges to see that the parents are at fault and send the case back to the diversion program and communicate with the parents the importance of getting the child to these programs.

“I am hopeful this legislation will help curb the rising youth crime rates in Louisville and across the Commonwealth,” Rep. Bratcher added.

 The measure also allows for better enforcement in truancy case. Some kids have missed over 100 days of school but have never been brought in front of a judge. In such cases, the legislation ensures that there is judicial intervention. The bill calls for more transparency in some cases and removes confidentiality in court cases in which a juvenile has been found guilty of a violent felony offense.

 The bill now moves to the Senate.

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