Quite often we describe our children as the future of our society. While we try our best to raise our children to be good, caring, happy people that contribute to society, sometimes it doesn’t turn out like we hoped. There are points in time where our youths can stray from the path that we all hope for them. Often this can end in anger, grief and heartache. This gets especially murky when our court system has to decide whether our teenagers are considered children or adults in the eyes of the law. There has been a recent initiative in our Connecticut court systems to preach leniency and forgiveness for crimes that are less serious. Our system has been pushing for a second chance for Connecticut’s youths.
While the overall number of incarcerated youths has stayed steady over the the last few years, there is an initiative in place to reduce the overall number of incarcerations in minors by 20% over the next three years. There has even been a law change so 16 and 17-year olds who are accused of less serious crimes are handled by the juvenile court systems. Governor Malloy has gotten involved as well, leading an initiative known as the Second Chance Initiative, which deals with reform to our justice system.
This proposal is not without obstacles. Hartford and Bridgeport detention centers alone detain roughly 1,400 youths annually. Many of these will be repeat visitors over their lifetimes. In order to get a snapshot of who these at-risk youths are, here is a snapshot:
While we move away from the idea that mass incarceration is the answer in our state, our government continues to search for an appropriate solution to not only try to give these children a second chance at society, but to also help everyone write a different ending to their story than one that ends behind bars. For more information on the current initiative, you can read about the proposed changes here.