Kentucky improves indigent legal aid
Kentucky has greatly improved legal aid-.for indigent youths in the past six years, but still has shortcomings, especially in services for emotionally disturbed adolescents.
Kentucky has raised compensation for attorneys, cut their caseloads and reduced turnover since the court entered its order.
But minorities continue to be disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system and the state needs to expand community services for those with mental disorders, the report said.
Kentucky agreed to a consent order with the federal government in 1995 to upgrade services for troubled children and youth.
The Children’s Law Center conducted the indigent youth project in cooperation with the American Bar Association’s Juvenile Justice Center and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The project found most juveniles have access to the types of legal advice that was not available in the mid-1990s, however, some consultations are rushed, the quality of counsel is inconsistent and funding in many counties is inadequate.
The findings were based on questionnaires sent to juvenile judges and to visits to seven juvenile courts.
Inf.: www.abanet.org; select search; use keywords “Juvenile Justice Center Kentucky.”
Copyright Washington Crime News Service Oct 15, 2002
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