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Posted inJustice, Politics

Malloy dubs bail, sentencing reforms as ‘Second Chance 2.0’

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy came to the Citadel of Love, a black church in the North End of Hartford, on Thursday to roll out “Second Chance 2.0,” a second round of proposals to negate the permanence of criminal mistakes, especially those committed by the young. He will ask the legislature next week to curtail bail for minor crimes, treat many defendants younger than 21 as juveniles and broaden the reach of a record-expunging youthful offender law.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Secret trials for CT 20-somethings would be unconstitutional

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly are to be commended for their 2015 “Second Chance Society” legislation, reversing racist laws that filled our jails with nonviolent drug users, most of them African-American and Latino. But it is ill-advised to pursue announced policies emanating from that corrective action; especially plans for secret trials of defendants in their early 20s.

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 inEducation

Legislators press DCF: Do your juvenile jails work?

Fourteen months have passed since Jennie was violently taken down from behind as she walked from one end of the state-run jail for girls to the other. On Thursday, concerned lawmakers on the legislative panel that oversees juvenile justice wanted to know: Where is Jennie now, and how is she doing? And do the jails, which house juveniles convicted of a crime, improve their behavior after they leave?

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 inCT Viewpoints

A battle for the soul of juvenile corrections shapes up in Connecticut

At the end of a grueling three-hour hearing on Aug. 21, state Rep. Toni Walker, chair of Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, laid the issue on the table. Referring to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, Connecticut’s only state-run youth corrections facility for boys, she asked, “The real question is, does Connecticut need CJTS? [Does the facility provide] the level of care that we really require in this state? Is CJTS the best method of delivering the needs for that population?” These questions are being hotly debated in Connecticut thanks to new revelations of a rash of suicide attempts and pervasive use of physical restraints and seclusion, both at CJTS and in the small Pueblo unit that opened nearby last year to serve troubled girls.