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'This is just the beginning': Kentucky governor details additional changes planned for juvenile justice system

In addition to staggered pay raises, 10% now and 8% later, an increased hourly and shift premium is part of the plan to hire and retain staff.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In an effort to protect youth and staff, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear implemented some changes to the juvenile justice system by separating boys based on level of offense and creating a girls-only detention center.

Now, Beshear is revealing additional steps to change the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

According to a press release, both Beshear and the Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey say the changes "require policy, budgetry and legislative action."

In addition to a 10% pay increase now, and an 8% increase later - a boost in hourly and shift premiums is part of the plan to hire and retain staff. The starting salary for DJJ workers in detention centers has been bumped up to $50,000 annually.

Other planned changes include:

  • Collaborating with Kentucky State Police and the Department of Corrections to enhance security at the detention centers
  • Improving physical facilities
  • Making defensive equipment available to DJJ's workers who didn't have any equipment before
  • Hiring former Department of Corrections warden Larry Chandler as DJJ's Director of Security
  • Creating a Compliance Division
  • Build two new facilities
  • Buying equipment and training personnel on how to prevent contraband
  • Reorganizing the department by "function"

DJJ Commissioner Vicki Reed said the reorganization will help management focus on the needs of the centers while "emphasizing safety and security" according to the release.

“This is just the beginning of facility security enhancements that we propose,” Beshear said. 

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