Putting children’s needs first means using the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Walter G. Cady School as part of the toolbox. It appears that some, including those in positions of advocacy and legislation, would carelessly ignore the programs that are in place while trying to create a new and unfunded system.
With Connecticut’s controversial jail for young offenders slated to close within two-and-a-half years, state leaders have begun to contemplate what an alternative juvenile justice system should encompass.
Democratic legislators Tuesday retreated from a plan to move legislatively toward closing the controversial state-run jail for young offenders and decided to leave that decision up to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Changes in sentencing policies for young offenders mean fewer inmates than ever are living at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, though several youths on any given day remain locked up because there is nowhere else for them to go.
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.
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.
There’s no question CJTS is a locked facility. But don’t call it a jail, said Superintendent William Rosenbeck. “The rooms do lock. This is a secure facility — a facility that has a dual mission to rehabilitate, and not to punish,” he said.
The Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Pueblo Unit should close. Institutions of this sort, by their very nature, inevitably depersonalize children, engender abuse and fail to address public safety. I know because I used to run one.
A heavy reliance on overtime at the state-run juvenile jails raises a number of questions, including whether it is cost-effective and whether it over-stresses staff, making them less effective in managing difficult situations with inmates.
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 […]
Each year about 3,000 children enter Connecticut’s juvenile justice system after being convicted of breaking the law. Here, in graphical form, is a historical overview of what happens to youth after they are found guilty, including details on the jails where about 200 youths each year are sent to live.
Under fire for what has been called improper restraint and seclusion of youths at state-run juvenile correctional facilities, the Department of Children and Families has released nearly seven hours of surveillance video in an effort to provide the public a more complete picture of its operations.
There were only two cases during the 12-month period ending June 30 in which the Department of Children and Families moved to discipline staff for improperly restraining a youth at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys or the neighboring Pueblo Unit for girls.
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.
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?