Gov. Sam Brownback is correct: The juvenile justice reform bill he signed Monday may be the premier legislation of this session. The smart, research-based reform shifts reliance on out-of-home placements for low-risk juvenile offenders to community-based programs aimed at addressing the root causes of juvenile crime. Supporters expect the reform to improve outcomes while also lowering costs. But as county and district attorneys warned, success depends on the state following through with promised funding and programs. Based on other past reforms and the state’s ongoing budget problems, there is reason to doubt the state’s promises. – Phillip Brownlee
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