Connecticut's complex justice issues, unpacked

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Posted inCT Viewpoints

An inexcusable and costly failure to fund juvenile review boards

For years, legislators sang the praises of juvenile review boards, because community-based JRBs helped kids succeed more frequently– and more cheaply – than the juvenile justice system. But when the General Assembly moved juvenile justice from one state agency to another, it neglected to move the funding for JRBs that serve our largest cities. That means fewer second chances and fewer essential services – mainly for young people of color and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our state frequently cannot find the money to support these youth, though the funding for the more expensive strategies of prosecution and even incarceration is never in short supply.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Kids in the juvenile justice system have fallen through budget cracks

In the last minutes of the 2018 legislative session, we got a state budget. Legislators showed commitment and determination in reaching a bi-partisan agreement. The dust hasn’t cleared yet — there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding what got funded and what didn’t. It is all too evident, however, that even dust-settling won’t clear away a fundamental reality. Children have fallen through system cracks due to a failure to plan and budget appropriately to meet the behavioral health needs of children in and at risk for being in the juvenile justice system.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Why including emerging adults in CT’s juvenile justice system makes sense

Gov. Dannel Malloy is again proposing that Connecticut become the first state in United States history to include most emerging adults – those ages 18, 19 and 20 – who have committed crimes into its juvenile court. He has also put forth a second bill that would provide confidentiality protections for low-risk emerging adults in the adult system, offering them a carrot for good behavior by erasing their criminal record if they don’t re-offend for four years. Both applied research and Connecticut’s own experience with raising the age of juvenile court suggest that the Constitution State would be on strong ground to move in the direction the administration has proposed.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

A new approach to Connecticut juvenile justice — with better results

At any given time many children are in the care of Connecticut’s juvenile justice system. Everyone agrees their personal stories are troublesome, but it is also important to understand each story can be turned in a more positive direction if we as adults commit to helping each child based on their individual needs. This is the premise behind a series of recommendations the Children’s League of Connecticut (CLOC) has presented to the state Department of Children and Families(DCF), legislators and other policy-makers.