Wichita Juvenile Justice Reform Gains Momentum

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Efforts to reform the juvenile justice system in Kansas are gaining new momentum with the launch this week of a grassroots campaign.

Kansans United for Youth Justice on Tuesday released a report outlining problems and proposing reforms. Kansas ranks eighth in the nation for its overuse for the confinement of youth even though the juvenile crime rate is lower than the national average.

A series of community meetings are planned across the state beginning Tuesday in Overland Park. Similar events are planned in the coming days in Ottawa, Kansas City, Wichita and Garden City.

The effort aims to end the practice of sending low and moderate risk youths to prison or out-of-home placements. It wants to shift funding away from incarceration and to local intensive rehabilitation programs.