2013 Legislative Session
5:48 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Committee Backs Gov's Reorganization Of Juvenile Justice Authority

A House committee has endorsed Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to reorganize the state's juvenile corrections system.

Brownback signed an order last month to move the Juvenile Justice Authority inside the Department of Corrections. The JJA is currently an independent agency.

Supporters of the reorganization point to legislative audits that showed repeated safety and security problems in a facility run by the JJA.

Representative John Rubin, a Republican from Shawnee, says the move is needed to improve the agency.

"The problems in JJA since it has become an independent agency are systemic, and I think this is well established," he says. 

Representative Tom Moxley, a Republican from Council Grove, wanted the committee to recommend blocking the governor's order. Moxley points out that there have been problems in the Department of Corrections, too.

As he puts it, the current juvenile system had problems in the past, but it's improving and shouldn't be scrapped. He says they should give the agency one more year to turn around before they undo what people spent years trying to fix.

The governor's reorganization order will go into effect unless either the House or Senate votes to overturn it.