JJA, Corrections Merger Underway

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The wheels are in motion for the Juvenile Justice Authority to move under the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Gov. Sam Brownback's office said Tuesday the administration has begun implementing an Executive Reorganization Order it issued in January, directing the merger.

By law, the Legislature had 60 days to reject the merger. The deadline passed March 18.

The ERO will establish a Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Services within the Corrections Department. Brownback says acting JJA Commissioner Terri Williams will serve in that role.

“It is important that we strengthen our public safety system while continuing to provide programs to youth offenders to get them back on the right path,” Brownback said. “Combining JJA and KDOC will realize efficiencies through administrative consolidation, and will continue to provide for the unique needs of both populations.”

The merger takes effect July 1, 2013.

The Governor's office says approximately 1,500 juveniles are currently under JJA custody. About 325 juvenile offenders are in one of the two JJA facilities, the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility or the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka. State law allows youth from ages 10 to 23 to be in JJA custody.