LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We are a couple of weeks away from Metro Council making a final budget decision to fund a local Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. With more cuts surfacing, the fate of a local youth detention center could be in question.
If the detention center is given over to the state, there is no guarantee that Jefferson County would be a priority, according to Reverand Roosevelt Lightsy, Jr., a member of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.
With 119 counties vying for the state's resources, the Jefferson County facility would surely see cuts.
"We'd have little or no control over it, we'd have to lobby to try and advocate for that. In my opinion, it's foolish. I think it is cutting off one’s nose despite the face. It may seem like a remedy on one hand but it's very shortsighted,” Lightsy, Jr. said.
No one from the city would speak to WHAS11's Jessie Cohen on camera to discuss this issue; however, they said this is just another way for them to cut funds for the millions they need to save.
In the past, Jefferson County has been among the leaders in the nation when it comes to juvenile justice. Metro Government, the Department of Juvenile Justice and Jefferson County Public Schools are said to work together when addressing crime. This is because of the unique intergovernmental collaboration.
“There is a school operating inside of the youth center where JCPS staff provide instruction." Lightsy Jr. said. "The kids in this place are provided one-of-kind opportunities…Treatment services inside the youth center, visits from working groups, and opportunities to continue education."
“They also have a chance to be supervised by people that look just like them. Given the demographics of our state that opportunity certainly diminishes as you leave outside Jefferson County," he added.
For the children in the center to have a chance to come back into the world better than how they left it, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee does not support a state take over.