Why Connecticut Should Restore Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to Age 18

Back • Publication Date: March 6th, 2007


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Connecticut is one of only three states that treats 16 and 17 year olds as “adults” in its criminal justice system. Youth who are 16 or 17 years old are not fully mature, nor are their brains fully developed, increasing the time it takes them to reason through a situation and determine an appropriate response. Treating these youth as adult offenders tends to increase recidivism, harm youthful offenders, and cost the state more money. Further, many of these youth have mental health and development needs that are not well addressed in the punitive adult system. This brief argues that the state should return its juvenile court jurisdiction to age 18.