Good to question juvenile justice merger

Good for state Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, for introducing a bill challenging Gov. Sam Brownback’s executive order to merge the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority with the Department of Corrections. Given some management problems at JJA and the state’s budget problems, a merger might be prudent. But it needs careful consideration. The Legislature created JJA in 1997 because other agencies weren’t doing a good job with juveniles. The emphasis at JJA is intervention aimed at keeping kids from becoming adult criminals, and Ward is understandably concerned that this focus might fade if JJA is swallowed up by KDOC. It takes a two-thirds vote in either chamber to block Brownback’s reorganization order, so odds are the merger will occur.