LITTLE ROCK — Juvenile justice officials in Arkansas say budget issues are interfering with efforts to move away from jailing youths.
Juvenile justice activists have lobbied to shift the agency’s funds to community-based providers rather than continuing to focus on youth lockups. Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 gives the Division of Youth Services’ general revenue fund $49.1 million, an increase of just $407,000 over the prior year.
A total of $27.6 million is allotted for residential treatment. About $17 million would fund community services although the agency had requested almost $19 million this year.
Dorcy Corbin, a longtime juvenile public defender, says locking kids away is not effective and that funding community services will save taxpayers’ money in the long-run.