Court Cafe

Why Raise the Age?

The time has long past for Connecticut to raise the age it tries its sixteen and seventeen year old children for violent and some non-violent offenses. It is clear from the experience of the past 25+ years, the testimony of Connecticut experts across a variety of fields and the judgement of 47 other states that judging children by adult standards and putting children in adult jails does not work. It neither deters these offenses nor rehabilitates these children. {See House Bill No. 6567 / Raised Bill No. 5782 / LCO No. 2872 An Act Concerning the Age of A Child for Purposes of Jurisdiction in Juvenile Matters

Yes, Connecticut is one of only three states that tries children younger than 18 as adults and incarcerates them in adult prisons. In fact, Connecticut leads this country in the number of children under 18 in adult prisons.

Who are the children in our detention centers and prisons? While there are children from all walks of life who get in trouble with the law, it is still those raised in poverty and abused and/or nelgected children already part of the state's child welfare system. Most are children of color. Many have been abused, raised in households where violence was part fo their daily existence. Many have been "left behind" by the edcuational system. They are boys and, increasingly, girls. They often lack hope and have difficulty trusting or attaching to anyone. They are been abandoned by parents, community and under-served by the state.

Raise the Age Hearings & Meetings

Raise the Age Public Hearing
April 4 2007: There will be a public hearing in front of the Judiciary committee on the age of jurisdiction on Wednesday, April 4th. Contact Abby abby@ctjja.org if you have questions.

C4YJ Raise the Age Meeting
Wednesday, April 11 2007, 2 PM—4 PM: The Campaign for Youth Justice: Raise the Age CT meeting will be held at the New Haven Adult Education Center. All are welcome to attend!

C4YJ Raise the Age Meeting
Wednesday, May 2 2007, 2 PM—4 PM: The Campaign for Youth Justice: Raise the Age CT meeting will be held at the New Haven Adult Education Center. All are welcome to attend!

Online Interview

Read or Listen to the NPR interview with are Hector Glynn, Executive Director, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, Bill Carbone, Executive Director, Court Support Services Division, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch and Toni E. Walker, State Representative (Deputy Majority Leader).

Physicians for Human Rights

"The Health and Justice for Youth Campaign has been working with states across the country to address the serious health consequences associated with the prosecution of youth in the adult criminal system. The rights of youth are violated in states like Connecticut, which automatically treats 16- and 17-year olds as adults for any crime. In response to this harsh policy, the Health and Justice for Youth Campaign organized seven Connecticut health associations to take action." cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org/juvenile-justice/, January 30, 2007

Connecticut Health Professionals and International Human Rights Organization Call on State to Remove Youths from Adult Prisons"
"Health professional associations of Connecticut are unanimous in their support for trying, sentencing and treating children as children," said Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights. "The decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to outlaw the use of the death penalty on juveniles was motivated by the clear evidence that children do not have the same decision-making capabilities as adults. The State of Connecticut has an opportunity to take the next important step in reforming how the US justice system treats children." [Compete article]
cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org, January 30, 2007

Letter from PHR and CT health professionals available here (PDF) cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org, January 30, 2007

Statements by Dr. Steven Berkowitz at press conference held by Physicians for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance and the Juvenile Justice Implementation and Planning Committee available here. (PDF) cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org, January 30, 2007

Who Are These Kids?
"Children may enter the child welfare dependency system for reasons of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence or other unsafe conditions in the home. They are often plagued with physical, emotional, psychological and mental problems due to serious maltreatment. Even if family members were abusers, most children find it extremely difficult and lonely to separate from their birth families. As vulnerable youth entering the dependency system, they often need intervention to address personal trauma. Research suggests that youth who do not receive intervention often develop behavior problems, which lead to delinquency. Instead, youth are often shifted to numerous foster and group homes, furthering their disconnection from stable, positive relationships." [Complete Article] cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org, Health and Justice for Youth Campaign

Mobilizing Health Professionals Against the Juvenile Death Penalty
Following the Supreme Court ruling, PHR Executive Director Leonard Rubenstein said: "We are thrilled about the decision. It provides a legal grounding for what scientists have shown—that kids are different from adults." [Compete article]
cite: physiciansforhumanrights.org, October 13, 2005

Research Materials

Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning & Implementation Committee Recommendations

cite: cga.ct.gov, Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Committee, January 25, 2007

  1. Raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction, effective July 1, 2009.
  2. Improve pre-trial detention practices.
    • Introduce a statewide detention risk assessment instrument.
    • Establish/expand pre-trial supervision programs.
    • Review and revise statutes governing detainable offenses.
  3. Establish Regional Youth Courts.
  4. Phase in services and staffing through the CSSD plan.
  5. Establish the Policy and Operations Coordinating Council.
    • To advance the central operational components identified in the JJPIC's implementation plan.
    • To resolve key tasks and unanswered questions.
  6. Establish the Implementation Oversight Body.
    • To provide accountability and monitoring during the implementation process and ensure that legislatively mandated tasks are completed.


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