Questions raised for lawmakers regarding the CT Justice Alliance Youth report

MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) – Should children under 18 be locked up? The CT Justice Alliance says no.

The CT Juvenile Training school in Middletown cost 56 million to build; it was shut down about 6 years ago. Since then, those under 18 are sent to an adult prison.

“You need somewhere to house people; however, the conversation really should be what are needs of those young people and where can those best be served,” said Christina Quaranta, head of CT Justice Alliance.

The CT Justice Alliance released their youth report today.

Quaranta said she doesn’t want another training school; she supports more investments to address root causes that lead children to crime.

She also favors raising the age on a child arrest to 14-years-old. It’s currently at 10-years-old.

When the training school opened, it was considered a model, a world class facility.

However, an investigation found youths felt unsafe and therapy programs were nonexistent. The conclusion was that CT Juvenile Training school was a dismal failure.

Quaranta doesn’t want kids locked up in a facility like this.

“This organization needs to come up with a viable solution,” said Rep. Vinnie Candelora, R-Minority Leader. “To say children don’t belong in an adult prison well where do they belong, and I think this report is silent on that.”

The training school had state of the art classrooms and athletic facilities, but the prison like structure was part of what led to its closure.

Both Quaranta and Representative Candelora agree kids need more mentors and after school programs.

However, Candelora says we should not forget what happened this year when a 15-year-old from east haven was stabbed and killed by another teenager outside an elementary school.

That teen was charged as an adult with premeditated murder and is in prison.

Even though the training school is empty, the state spends 2 million dollars a year just in upkeep.

On December 15, the justice alliance will put forth their proposals on what to do with this facility.

Although, even if they revamp it, it will still cost a lot of money. The question is if lawmakers are willing to do that.

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