Ky Department of Juvenile Justice welcomes 81 new security personnel

Enhancing the safety and security of youth and staff
Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice announced 59 people have graduated from the training academy and have reported to their assigned facility.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 1:30 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - More than six dozen new security personnel will soon work across Kentucky’s Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.

It’s part of a plan from Governor Andy Beshear’s office to improve the juvenile justice system and increase the retention and recruitment of security personnel.

The 81 new correctional officers and youth workers have been hired for the following DJJ facilities:

  • Adair Juvenile Detention Center – 19
  • Ashland Day Treatment Center – 2
  • Ashland Group Home – 1
  • Boyd Juvenile Detention Center – 3
  • Breathitt Juvenile Detention Center – 6
  • Campbell Juvenile Detention Center – 7
  • Christian Co. Day Treatment Center – 1
  • Fayette Juvenile Detention Center – 11
  • Frankfort Group Home – 1
  • Frenchburg Group Home – 1
  • Hopkinsville Group Home – 1
  • Jefferson Juvenile Detention Center – 4
  • Lake Cumberland Youth Development Center - 1
  • London Group Home – 1
  • McCracken Juvenile Detention Center – 6
  • Middlesboro Group Home – 1
  • Morehead Youth Development Center – 4
  • Northern Kentucky Youth Development Center – 2
  • Warren Juvenile Detention Center – 5
  • Woodsbend Youth Development Center – 4

In February, the state raised the salaries for detention center workers to a minimum of $50,000 annually. It also reclassified the position title to “correctional officer.”

So far, 50 people have graduated from the training academy and have reported to their assigned facility. Another 22 individuals began the training academy on Feb. 20 and are expected to graduate on March 17.

“Our youth deserve a Kentucky that will fight for them so they can achieve a second chance and a brighter future,” said Gov. Beshear in a news release. “I pledge to always do the right thing for the betterment of our youth and our staff who are committed to doing this essential job.”

Dept. of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Vicki Reed praised the Beshear administration in the news release sent out on Thursday.

“Because of their support, staff vacancies numbers which have been increasing since 2015, are starting to finally decrease,” Reed said. “DJJ will continue to do the best we can do for every kid who comes into custody to prevent them from returning, and with our new staff members, we will be able to increase programming and other vital services.”

Other changes made this month include KSP assigning two uniformed troopers around the clock to the Adair, Fayette, and Warren Juvenile Detention Centers.

More than 30 correctional officers and probation and parole officers from the Department of Corrections have volunteered to assist Campbell Juvenile Detention Center until it is fully staffed.

The Beshear administration is also pushing for legislative action. The administration presented its juvenile justice legislative request to the General Assembly on Feb. 14.

On Wednesday, Rep. Derrick Graham filed House Bill 591.

It encompasses the statutory changes required to allow juveniles to qualify for bail and remove status offenders and Class B misdemeanants from detention, even for violating court orders.

DJJ continues to recruit for 103 correctional officers and 30 youth workers across its 24 facilities. To apply for a career with DJJ, visit the Kentucky Personnel’s Cabinet website.

DJJ’s training academy includes six weeks, 128 hours of instruction focused on a variety of topics, including cultural diversity/implicit bias, mental health training, crisis prevention, de-escalation techniques, conflict resolution, riot and hostage situations, searches and contraband, report of abuse and neglect, fire safety, suicide prevention, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, report writing and observation skills, health services protocols, behavior management, and legal issues.

The academy also includes two weeks of on-the-job training.