Legislation aimed at revamping Kentucky's juvenile justice system by locking up fewer minors has been sent to Gov. Steve Beshear. The measure won final legislative approval Monday on a 30-8 vote in the Senate. Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield says his measure will result in better outcomes for young offenders at a lower cost to taxpayers. He calls it the biggest step in reshaping Kentucky's juvenile code in decades. The bill would steer more young offenders toward community-based treatment as an alternative to detention. It aims to keep more kids out of detention centers for skipping school or running away. Its reach goes further, allowing youths accused of misdemeanors or lesser felonies to avoid detention time, unless they committed sex or weapons crimes or had one prior offense.
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