News & Announcements
Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Bill Impacts Juvenile Justice Laws May 8, 2018
Here are a handful of the bill’s provisions directly impacting system-involved juveniles:
- Minor offenses for juveniles – civil infractions and first offense misdemeanors with penalties under 6 months – cannot be the subject of delinquency findings.
- Create a mechanism for judicial diversion of juveniles for less serious offenses.
- Create legal/administrative framework to expand use of restorative justice programs for diversion of both juveniles and adults.
- Assure that youthful offender cases tried in juvenile court are treated as juvenile instead of adult CORI.
- Allow expungement of non-serious cases up to age 21 (for both juveniles and young adults).
- Exclude juvenile arrests from public police log and expunge young adult police logs if the court case is expunged.
- Raise minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 12.
- Limit the use of room confinement as a disciplinary measure for juveniles.
To read the language of this new legislation, click here.
Congratulations to Connecticut on the closure of Connecticut Juvenile Training School Apr. 12, 2018
“In Connecticut, we’re leading the nation in rethinking our approach to criminal justice, especially when it comes to the treatment of our young people,” Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy said. “The Connecticut Juvenile Training School was an ill-advised and costly relic of the Rowland era. It placed young boys in a prison-like facility, making rehabilitation, healing, and growth more challenging. The fact remains that this isn’t a celebratory moment, but a time to reflect on the past mistakes made when it comes to juvenile justice, and an opportunity to create a system that better serves our young people and society as a whole.”
This news received praise from national expert Vincent Schiraldi: “The fact that Connecticut’s juvenile arrest rate has plummeted alongside its decline in youth imprisonment means that state policy makers have figured out a way to make Connecticut residents safer while incarcerating fewer of their sons and daughters, something policy makers in other states should pay attention to.”
To read more, click here.
Connecticut’s Racial and Ethnic Disparity (RED) Committee reports statewide successes from 2017 Nov. 21, 2017
- The adoption of protocols and guides in New Haven and Waterbury for reentry for youth returning from placement, including CJTS and MYI. This will ensure that these youth are able to immediately reenter school and receive the necessary supports in the community to be successful.
- The implementation of restorative practices at four pilot schools in Bridgeport is showing a positive impact on school climate and discipline.
- As of May, Out of School Suspensions at Columbus were down 52% and down 63% at Harding.
- The continuing implementation of Deep End Diversion program, including restorative approaches, at CJTS to reduce the number of arrests in congregate care.
- The DCF central office adopted the Washington State model protocol for runaway girls who are also likely the victims of exploitation or trafficking. The protocol ensures a victim-centered response to these girls as opposed a response that recommends detainment or is punitive in nature.
To learn more about recent successes arising out of Connecticut, click here.
Maine’s juvenile justice stakeholders gather national and local experts for Summit Nov 17. 2017
On November 17th, the newly formed Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law (MCJPAL) and the University of Southern Maine’s Justice Policy Institute collaboratively hosted Youth Justice in Maine: Imagining a New Future. This event convened nearly 100 national and local experts, juvenile justice practitioners, and youth voices, all of whom are committed to improving youth justice in Maine. Presentations and remarks were given by Vincent Schiraldi, Shaena Fazal, Gail D. Mumford, and more.
See the Summit agenda and view slides from the presentations here. To read the white paper generated from the Summit, Youth Justice in Maine: Imagine a New Future Summit Summary & Recommendations, click here.
Massachusetts lawmakers weigh again raising age for juvenile courts Nov. 7, 2017
In mid-October, the Massachusetts state Senate approved a criminal justice bill that would, among other things, raise the age of jurisdiction by juvenile courts from 18 to 19. A House version of the bill, unveiled Monday, raises the lower end of the jurisdictional age of the state’s juvenile courts from 7 to 10 years old while leaving the upper limit unchanged at 18. This initiative comes only four years after Massachusetts raised the age of juvenile delinquency from 17 to 18.
Read more here.
New Hampshire House Bill 517 provides substantial improvements in treatment of system involved youth Aug. 16, 2017
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the bill into law in June of this year and the reforms are being phased in through September of 2018. The updates provided for by the legislation include prohibiting secure detention for most non-violent offenders and developing a plan, to be presented to the Legislature, to place non-violent offenders outside the Sununu Detention Center.
To read more about these new laws, click here.
Vermont Legislatures Charge to the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel Aug 29, 2017
In August, the Vermont legislature tasked a statewide Advisory Panel with a number of duties relating to the intersection of law enforcement, racial disparities, and the juvenile justice system.
More information about this effort, click here.