Restore a common sense plan to Connecticut Juvenile Justice

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Kyle Constable/The Connecticut Mirror

State Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, speaks outside the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown following layoffs at the facility earlier this year.

The CTMirror story Juvenile Justice in CT: “What’s left after all the cuts” rings loudly in the ears of those of us working in the deep end of the system.   The Connecticut Juvenile Training School, and the Walter G. Cady School educational component have been forced to operate with insufficient programming for the youth both within and outside the facility.

Outside the facility, the youth with whom we work need more from community programming.  Their ability to succeed is compromised by insufficient community programs and other supports.  Regrettably, within CJTS the education program has been depleted of vocational programs, music, art and sports teams. The wide variety of programs that once provided opportunity, positive incentives and building job skills have been eliminated.

Gov. Dannel Malloy justified his continuing cuts based upon Connecticut’s economic conditions.  Those cuts are penny wise and pound foolish.   Our youth, our future, will suffer because the need to address and provide opportunities for these young men is still necessary.

This cutoff of funding for essential community services increases the likelihood that CJTS or the Department of Correction will be the only stable future for the juvenile justice population.  Rather than accept that outcome, we must have immediate action.  First, restore funding to community services and programs which give youth a chance.  Second, consider CJTS as the facility that can be a central service provider for all of the needed services.

Make the simple decision to utilize an existing facility that can accommodate all of the programs that yield successes.    Restore budgetary allocations to the surrounding community programs that work for our youth.   Restore a common sense plan.

Paula Dillon is a teacher at the Walter G. Cady School, located at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School. 

What do you think?

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