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Posted inCT Viewpoints

CJTS teacher: Juvenile offenders’ ‘best chance is with us’

In light of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal to “Raise the Age” of juveniles to 20, it is time to recognize once and for all that Connecticut’s juvenile delinquent offenders should be sent to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and not to the state’s youth prison, Manson Youth Institute. Contrary to the Office of the Child Advocate’s misleading and politically-charged claim that we are abusing our residents, the truth of the matter is that the residents of CJTS receive a comprehensive, intensive, and high-quality array of services from dedicated and passionate professionals.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Consider an independent juvenile justice authority for Connecticut

Before “raising the age” again, the State of Connecticut and its key justice agencies — DCF, DOC and the Judicial Branch including the Court Support Services Division — need to participate in an honest independent look at all of our current organizational structures for adjudicated youth. The purpose of this external review would be to examine creation of an independent Juvenile Justice Authority that is science-informed, takes a two-generation approach and is anchored in “evidence-based” policy, practice and programs. Clearly what we have now is not working well. Besides that, it is really expensive.

Posted inEducation, Justice

Youth service officers: We are not abusing kids in jail

Staff from CJTS speak out against reports on conditions inside the state-run jails A state investigation that uncovered improper use of restraint and seclusion at Connecticut’s juvenile correction facilities left out one important element, front line staff members say: their voices. “We cannot and will not be portrayed as the enemy or the abuser of […]

Posted inCT Viewpoints

CT juvenile centers must operate with understanding of trauma

The recent report from the Office of Child Advocate states that the vast majority of children and youth at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and Pueblo have “histories of trauma, abuse, neglect, complex psychiatric disorders and special education needs.”
It then goes on to detail the use of isolation and restraints as behavior management strategies or for discipline even in non-emergency situations. I want to start by saying those charged with rehabilitating and treating this vulnerable population face difficulties and challenges. But are cycles of punishment that go nowhere and only harm our youth any better? I say no, and I offer an alternative: operating from an understanding of the impact of trauma.

Posted inEducation

Panel probes future of CT’s juvenile jails

Discussion by members of a key oversight committee examining conditions at the state’s juvenile jails centered on some fundamental questions: Do young people – many of whom have psychiatric needs and histories of trauma – leave better off than they came in? Can the facility’s problems be addressed through better staff training or programs, or are they symptoms of problems inherent in the jails?