• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

New Mental Health Detention Center Aims to Address ‘High Acuity’ Youth in Kentucky Justice System

BySamantha Jones

Mar 27, 2024
Kentucky legislature progresses plan for new mental health juvenile detention facility

A bill sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, a West Kentucky Republican, has been unanimously approved by a Kentucky House committee. The bill, known as Senate Bill 252, aims to establish a special mental health juvenile detention facility for housing “high acuity” youth. Carroll emphasized the importance of this bill, calling it “critical” for the well-being of these young individuals.

Under Senate Bill 252, Kentucky plans to operate two female detention centers by February 1, 2026, with one located in Central Kentucky and the other in the western part of the state. A third center could be built if the first two reach capacity. Additionally, a 16-bed acute mental health facility will be constructed to provide specialized treatment for juveniles who exhibit aggression, violence, or property destruction.

The Department of Juvenile Justice will manage and staff the facility, with support from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to ensure appropriate mental health treatment is provided. While the final budget has not been confirmed, the Senate has proposed $45 million for each female-only facility and $5 million for the mental health facility, although Carroll had requested $22 million.

Carroll emphasized the urgency of establishing a mental health facility for youth in the justice system

By Samantha Jones

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