Kentucky Senate focus turns to juvenile justice audit findings

Republished from WEKU.

What started as a light agenda for the Kentucky Senate Thursday turned into an emotional discussion of a third-party audit of the Commonwealth’s juvenile justice detention system.

Senate President Pro Tem David Givens took to the floor highly critical of juvenile justice administrators in carrying out legislative steps in addressing sizeable security and humane care issues. Benton Senator Danny Carroll says proposed legislation includes building a facility on Central State Hospital property for violent and mentally ill detainees.

“If the funding is approved we will have a facility for those kids where they will get quality mental health care,” said Carroll.

The GOP proposal also calls for building new facilities for females, one in Fayette County and another in west Kentucky as well as retrofitting existing regional male centers. Carroll estimates it could take two to three years to establish the new mental health center.

While saying findings outlined in the audit were alarming, Louisville Senator Gerald Neal said staff pay and training issues have been seen over many years.

“And if you have low salaries and you bring in people not quite equipped and you have a deficient number of people addressing these issues without the right training..then you’re gonna have a deficit outcome,” said Neal.

Givens said lawmakers supplied adequate funding. Carroll, meanwhile, hopes funding for new initiatives can be enacted in the current budget under review.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.