A new report is raising serious concerns about conditions for young people incarcerated or detained in Connecticut facilities.
The Office of the Child Advocate looked at six issues including suicidal behavior, use of force, and educational programming. But the most urgent recommendations, said Mickey Kramer, the associate child advocate, involve suicide prevention and physical isolation.
“Incarceration in and of itself is a major risk indicator for youth suicide,” she said. “But prolonged isolation while incarcerated or detained poses additional risk.”
The OCA examined conditions at the state’s juvenile detention centers and the two adult correctional facilities that house minors. It also compares those to the now closed Connecticut Juvenile Training School.
Kramer said one of the most significant key findings is the inability to address the complex needs of kids in the deepest end across all systems.
“Regardless of if they’re detained for 10 days or if they are going to spend a significant amount of time incarcerated, we don’t have, currently, the structures in place,” she said. “The educational resources, family support -- all of those things that we know are critically necessary in order to prepare those kids to re-enter their communities, live with families safely, and have successful lives.”
The report, which took a year and a half to complete, has been disseminated to the legislature, Governor Lamont and the Juvenile Justice & Oversight Committee, which will vote on recommendations to move forward.