Connecticut has made great improvements in recent years in its treatment of young people involved in the juvenile justice system.
Going forward, Connecticut must continue to invest in research-based, developmentally appropriate services that keep children and communities safe.
- Keeping children in school is the first step towards reducing involvement in the juvenile justice system. This can be done by improving school climate, reducing exclusionary discipline practices, preventing truancy and dropout, improving alternative education options, and minimizing school-based arrests.
- Addressing academic, mental health, and behavioral health needs as early as possible is also critical to keeping children in school and out of the juvenile justice system. Research shows that many disciplinary and behavioral problems result from unmet academic and health care needs.
- Connecticut’s landmark 2007 reforms of its juvenile justice laws are moving Connecticut towards a system that is more developmentally appropriate, cost-effective, and likely to prevent future delinquent behavior. “Raising the age” of juvenile court jurisdiction to permit most offenses involving 16 and 17 year olds to be adjudicated in juvenile court rather than adult criminal court represented a watershed for children’s rights in Connecticut.
- Connecticut must develop a robust and developmentally appropriate system of services for youth in its juvenile justice system.