Connecticut getting smart on juvenile justice

You don’t teach trigonometry to third graders or spend time helping high school sophomores learn their colors. Educators have always understood that curriculum needs to be appropriate to the student’s development. If the juvenile justice system aims to teach better ways of interacting with the world, the system needs to be built around developmental stages, as several initiatives in Connecticut propose.

Is this justice for Aymir Holland?

Nearly all of the ways that the judicial system serves justice are unfair, and it is the poor, underprivileged citizens who are suffering.
According to NAACP.org, “African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people incarcerated population. African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.” Seeing those statistics, I can’t help assume that the justice system seems to have a bias that black people are all the same: that they’re all agitators of civilization. This bias isn’t the truth and is displayed by many African Americans including 17-year-old Aymir Holland.

Restore a common sense plan to Connecticut Juvenile Justice

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.

Time for adult responsibility at Connecticut Juvenile Training School

At the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS), workers compensation claims are soaring, mostly because staff is frequently injured putting youth in physical restraints. The Department of Children and Families and union officials told The Connecticut Mirror that restraints are necessary because youth at the facility are so difficult. They point to recent policies that removed many young people from CJTS, leaving only the most challenging youth at the facility. This reaction is disturbing on several levels and underlines the need to work toward closing CJTS.

Better outcomes in CT juvenile justice — and potentially savings, too

With the state’s new fiscal reality as background, the Children’s League of Connecticut has offered a number of policy based solutions meant to improve the quality of life for youth and families served by the Connecticut juvenile justice system. In many cases these concepts will result in lower costs to taxpayers and in all cases we believe our suggestions will result in better outcomes for youth and their families — which should be everyone’s goal.

Legislative witnesses hold forth on how old a juvenile should be

After stalling out during the regular legislative season, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal for a Second Chance Society is awaiting action by the General Assembly later this week. Among other things, the governor asked for the elimination of bail bonds for misdemeanor offenses and that 18- to 20-years be tried as juveniles — an idea that engendered both support and opposition. The governor has now dropped the age adjustment idea as a political compromise, but a long list of witnesses provided testimony both for and against the idea during a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year. Here are some excerpts from witnesses on the age issue and the bail legislation as well:

Recognize or repurpose CT Juvenile Training School, don’t close it

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.

Individualized treatment for Connecticut children is the goal

For too long the debate over the care of children and young adults in Connecticut with behavioral health needs, developmental disabilities or those in the juvenile justice system has been centered on the wrong issue. Important time, money, and other resources have been spent debating the future of specific programs, rather than focusing on how best to provide care and treatment that will meet individual needs.

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.

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.

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.