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Making the Case: Community-based Alternatives to Youth Incarceration

In 2016, Kansas took a strong step forward toward improving its youth justice system. However, there is much more work to do. This resource outlines five steps toward a smarter, more effective youth justice system that legislators and practitioners should explore to guide the implementation of programs geared to reduce youth incarceration.

Download the resource here.

Key Changes to the Kansas Juvenile Code: A Practical Guide

The comprehensive 2016 Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Act, commonly referred to as SB 367, ushered in a significant number of changes to the Kansas Juvenile Justice Code. This summary provides an overview of key changes and citations to where they currently reside within the Kansas Code.


Download the guide here.

Juvenile Justice Reform in Kansas: An Opportunity to Improve School Discipline Policies

A guide for how school leaders can create a Memorandum of Understanding with law enforcement agencies that improves their school climate, keeps kids and teachers safe, and helps to keep students in the classroom learning.

Download the guide.

Juvenile Justice Reform in Kansas: An Opportunity for School Leaders

This brief provides information for school leaders on: The need for new approaches to juvenile justice & school discipline policies; SB 367, Kansas’s juvenile justice reform bill–an opportunity; and key considerations to make the most of SB 367’s opportunity for school leaders.

Download the brief.

Snapshot: Juvenile Justice in Kansas

This quick snapshot shows why Kansas is embracing alternatives to incarceration for youth.

Read the report.

Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Handbook

A quick resource guide with the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How — and What’s Next — for juvenile justice reform in Kansas.

Read the handbook.

Frequently Asked Questions about Senate Bill 367 (2016)

Why do we need juvenile justice reforms in Kansas? What does Senate Bill 367, as amended by the Senate, do? When do the reforms in bill go into effect? Who supports these reforms?


Read the FAQ.


Kansans United State Poll: February 2016

On the heels of recent bipartisan efforts to reform the youth justice system, the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing parole hearings for youth offenders, and the Department of Justice decision to ban solitary confinement of youth, a new poll shows adults in Kansas overwhelmingly support shifting the youth justice system from incarceration and punishment to prevention and rehabilitation. A clear 82% majority favors this shift with broad support across partisanship (81% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 79% of Republicans).


Download the poll results.

Download Investing in Kansas Families – Juvenile Justice Reform

The approach outlined in this issue brief will ensure taxpayer dollars are stewarded in a sensible fashion – now and in the future. Kansas should take the dollars it currently spends and pivot those funds into smart, effective investments that benefit our families and all of Kansas now and in the future.

Download Investing in Kansas Families – Juvenile Justice Reform

Download the Principles for Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Report

Kansas is rethinking our approach to kids who get in trouble.

Our current juvenile justice system has become too reliant on incarceration and hasn’t done enough to support local programs that provide better outcomes for kids and our communities. If we shift our policies and our budgets away from incarcerating kids and towards local intensive rehabilitation programs, we will keep our communities safer, our kids healthier, and our funding stronger.


Download the Principles for Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Report

Additional Resources

National research into what works (and what doesn’t) for juvenile justice reform

Kids are still developing mentally and emotionally, and we need juvenile justice systems that understand that. The U.S. Supreme Court agrees.

The bad news: Many of our juvenile justice systems (including here in Kansas) were built on fears of a myth about kids. And the system here in Kansas isn’t working.

The good news: The vast majority of kids, even youth who commit serious crimes, naturally outgrow adolescent misbehavior. So let’s not send kids to remote prisons anymore. And we shouldn’t push kids out of school for minor misbehavior. Because incarcerating kids can damage their lives for a long time. Incarcerating kids damages our budget, too.

The really good news? There are effective alternatives to incarceration for kids. Those alternatives work at a fraction of the cost of incarceration. Many states are already seeing the benefits of shifting away from prisons and towards alternatives for kids. It’s time to bring those effective reforms to Kansas.

School Discipline Resources

SB 367’s most significant opportunity for school leaders is the chance to create a Memorandum of Understanding with law enforcement agencies that improves their school climate, keeps kids and teachers safe, and helps to keep students in the classroom learning.

Resources school leaders may wish to consult in developing or revising their district’s MOU include:

The MOU between Topeka Unified School District, the Topeka Police Department, Juvenile Justice Intake Center, and the Shawnee County Department of Corrections

The Olathe Public Schools Code of Student Conduct, which includes a section titled “Student Rights if Contacted by Law Enforcement”

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