Over the next year, Connecticut’s juvenile justice system will be under review by the Council of State Governments Justice Center. The state was selected, in a competitive process, to be part of an initiative to improve outcomes for youth. The review kicked off Tuesday.
The national program, called the Improving Outcomes for Youth initiative, helps states form effective policies and practices in the juvenile justice system.
Bill Carbone, Executive Director of the Tow Youth Justice Institute at the University of New Haven, said part of the goal is to look at the state’s current policies to see what kind of impact they’re having, “including raising the age of jurisdiction, including reducing reliance on incarceration, including our efforts to divert kids from the system and measure both the human impact — in terms of the lives of kids — but also the potential savings to the state taxpayers."
Carbone said youth incarceration has dropped significantly in Connecticut and juvenile crime is at its lowest level in decades. But one area remains a problem.
“Clearly, while we’ve had many reforms the one area that stands out and really cries for some attention, and it will get it, is the racial and ethnic disparity that we see,” Carbone said. “And the deeper you get into the system, especially with regard to incarceration, the more stark that disproportionality is.”
Part of the project will also include gathering information from people who’ve been through the system.
Carbone said they hope to have a report sometime in January.