A shocking number of Kentuckians are pushed into prison's revolving door before they are adults.
In 2009, Kentucky locked up almost 2,000 juveniles who committed status offenses, such as truancy or running away, alongside violent juveniles and those who had committed serious crimes.
Kentucky detains juvenile status offenders at the second-highest rate in the nation.
This high incarceration rate is expensive for local governments.
Worse, according to lots of research, rather than steering kids onto a better path, locking up status offenders actually increases the chance that they will grow into an adult life of crime.
House Bill 123 would bring Kentucky's handling of juvenile offenders more in line with what the research says works.
It cleared the House 95-0 on Feb. 11 and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 123 is the matching bookend to the historic criminal code reforms approved by both chambers of the legislature in this session.
The Senate could compound the gains from the criminal code reforms by approving a bill that would divert more kids from the path of criminality and imprisonment.