By Lindsay Boyle
The state’s efforts to keep juveniles out of the criminal justice system appear to be having a long-term positive effect, a University of New Haven lecturer said Monday during the Connecticut State Forum on Public Safety.
The forum, an outgrowth of last fall’s 50-State Summit on Public Safety, outlined Connecticut’s successes while exploring how to adjust once Gov. Dannel P. Malloy leaves office in January.
Criminal justice has long been a hallmark for Malloy, whose Second Chance Society initiatives helped Connecticut achieve double-digit drops in crime and imprisonment from 2006 to 2016. It’s one of 21 states for which that’s true.
Focused on keeping people out of prison or helping them successfully reenter society, it’s a time period that saw the state close several prison facilities and begin treating 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles. It also saw the 2015 creation of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, charged with evaluating the state’s policies and suggesting changes when applicable.
Speaking from a room within the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, Senior Lecturer Bill Carbone said the committee quickly set three goals to achieve by June 30 this year: increase diversion, or the use of specialized programs in place of formal imprisonment, by 20 percent; decrease recidivism, or the act of reoffending, by 10 percent, and decrease incarceration by 30 percent.
With five days left until the deadline, the state should hit two of those three goals, he said.