WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Lawmakers in Topeka say they will be considering changes this year to juvenile justice.
“Is the system working? We are always asking that question,” Rep. Stephen Owens said. “This situation, first of all, is incredibly tragic, and I think anytime a tragedy of this magnitude really requires that we look at any and all laws that are applicable.”
Owens, who sits on the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee as the chair, says that starting next week, they will review recent changes in the juvenile justice system. Those changes include putting fewer juveniles in jail and focusing more on getting help for teenagers in trouble.
On Tuesday, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett talked about Kansas lawmakers and the stand your ground laws in Kansas. KSN asked if changes to stand your ground laws will be brought up for a vote this year.
“You’re talking to one of the representatives who didn’t support the Stand Your Ground in the first place,” said Democrat house member John Carmichael of Wichita.
Carmichael says there is a chance changes to Stand Your Ground will be talked about. He does not think any proposed changes would get a vote.
“Now, will those efforts be successful? I think it’s very unlikely Republican leadership in the house would have any stomach to put such a bill on the floor,” said Carmichael. “I suspect the same thing would happen in the Senate.”
Owens, meanwhile, says the juvenile justice system will not be changed for the better by more money for additional officers. Senate Bill 367 looked at the money and ways to better the system a few years ago.
“Spending money is not always the answer,” said Owens. “And (we) have put much more focus on restorative justice. On treatment, on helping these kids become adults. So, looking at SB-367 is something we are going to be looking at. It is something we are going to take a deeper dive into in my committee next week.”