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How Collaboration and Commitment
Have Improved Public Safety
and Outcomes for Youth



pg. 1

Timeline of change


pg. 4

	 1992 • pg. 4
	2002 • pg. 11


pg. 15

tr ansformation over two decades
keys to success
less ons


pg. 45



pg. 5o




pg. 51


pg. 33


pgs. 30–31

Seizing the Opportunity

Over the past two decades, a tremendous volume of new knowledge has emerged about
causes of adolescent delinquency and the effective responses. Through research and policy
experimentation, scholars and practitioners have proven that several new approaches
significantly improve outcomes for youth who become involved in delinquency, thereby
enhancing public safety and saving taxpayers’ money. These advances provide public
officials with unprecedented opportunities to redesign their juvenile justice systems for the
benefit of youth, families and communities.
Unfortunately, most states and localities have been slow to recognize and act on this new information, slow to
seize these opportunities for constructive change. Progress has been uneven.
Perhaps more than any other state, Connecticut has absorbed the growing body of knowledge about youth
development, adolescent brain research and delinquency, adopted its lessons, and used the information to
fundamentally re-invent its approach to juvenile justice. As a result, Connecticut’s system today is far and
away more successful, more humane, and more cost-effective than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
This report will describe, dissect, and draw lessons from Connecticut’s striking success in juvenile justice
reform for other states and communities seeking similar progress.
The first section details the timeline and dimensions of change in Connecticut’s juvenile justice
system over the past two decades. In 1992, Connecticut routinely locked up hundreds of youths –
many of them never convicted or even accused of serious crimes – in decrepit and unsafe facilities while
offering little or no treatment or rehabilitation. The state was one of only three in the nation whose justice
system treated all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults – trying them in criminal courts, with open records, and
sentencing many to adult prisons without education or rehabilitative services designed for adolescents.
By 2002 there was a growing awareness that these problems could no longer be ignored. Over the decade
that followed, a movement for sweeping reforms began to build momentum and take root. And by 2012,
Connecticut had a strong commitment to invest in alternatives to detention and incarceration, improve
conditions of confinement, examine the research, and focus on treatment strategies with evidence of
Most impressively, these changes have been accomplished in Connecticut without any added financial cost,
and without any increase in juvenile crime or violence. To the contrary, the costs of new programs and
services for Connecticut’s court-involved youth have been fully offset in the short-term by reduced
expenditures for detention and confinement, and promise additional savings down the road as more youth
desist from delinquency and crime. Arrests of youth have fallen substantially throughout the reform period,
both for serious violent crimes and for virtually all other offense categories as well.
The report then looks under the hood of Connecticut’s reform efforts and explores the critical factors
underlying these accomplishments. The discussion begins by detailing the main elements and key champions
of progress and by identifying the turning points that built momentum toward reform.
The report’s final section explores what other states or local jurisdictions can learn from Connecticut’s
experience. The most important lesson, it finds, is that a new and vastly improved juvenile justice system is
within reach for any jurisdiction that summons the energy and commitment, the creativity and cooperative
spirit to do what’s best for their children, their families, and their communities.


Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut:
1 . ReducED Overreliance on

Over the past decade, Connecticut has dramatically
reduced the number of youth removed from home by
delinquency courts and placed into pre-trial detention
centers, correctional training schools, and/or other
residential facilities. Specifically, the state has reduced
residential commitments from 680 in 2000 to 216 in
2011 (nearly 70%), even though most 16 year-olds, who
were previously treated as adults, are now handled in
the juvenile system. The average daily population in
Connecticut’s pretrial detention centers fell from 132 in
2006 to 94 in 2011, the year after 16-year-olds entered
the juvenile system, allowing the state to close one of
its three state-operated detention centers. Meanwhile,
the under 18 population in Connecticut’s adult prisons
fell from 403 in January 2007 to 151 in July 2012.

2 . BuiLT a Continuum of
Targeted, High-Quality
Non-Residential Programs
and Services for Youth

Over the past 15 years, Connecticut has developed
an array of new community-based supervision and
treatment programs for delinquent and behaviorally
troubled youth. Specifically, the state has expanded
its investment in evidence-based, family-focused
adolescent treatment programs with proven success
in reducing problem behaviors from $300,000 in 2000
to $39 million in 2009. In Fiscal Year 2012, 955 youths
on probation supervision participated in intensive
evidence-based family therapy programs and 652
in evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy.
Evidence-based treatment was also provided to
thousands of other Connecticut youths, including
delinquent young people committed to state custody,
status offenders diverted from juvenile court, and
behaviorally troubled youth served in the child welfare
and children’s mental health systems.


3 . ImprovED Conditions in
Juvenile Facilities

Connecticut has undertaken sweeping reforms in
recent years to ensure humane care for confined youth.
After being sued in the early 1990s for overcrowding
and problematic treatment of youth in its pre-trial
detention facilities, Connecticut vastly improved
detention programming, education and mental health
services, and physical conditions in detention. After
a series of investigations revealed severe deficiencies
in the new $57 million Connecticut Juvenile Training
School from 2001-2004, Connecticut permanently
closed a high-security unit where violent incidents
had been commonplace, temporarily suspended new
admissions, provided intensive retraining of staff on
behavior management, reformed disciplinary practices,
and vastly improved programming and treatment
throughout the facility.

4 . DivertED Status Offending
Youth Away from the Court
System and Out of Locked
Detention Centers

Until just a few years ago, Connecticut routinely sent
youth to court and even detained them for minor
misdeeds (truancy, running away, alcohol possession)
that would not be illegal if committed by an adult –
despite evidence that such harsh treatment for these
“status offenses” is costly, ineffective, and harmful
to youth. Since 2005, Connecticut has eliminated
admission of youth to detention centers for status
offenses and opened Family Support Centers (FSC)
statewide that offer community-based treatment and
other services for status-offending youth and their
families rather than probation supervision. The state
reduced judicial processing (formal petition) of status
offender referrals from 50 percent of those filed in
2006-07 to just 4.5 percent in 2010 and 2011. Since
2006, the number of youth with a status offense who
were rearrested or convicted of crimes fell by more
than 70 percent.


Seven Major Accomplishments
5 . KePT Youth Out of the Adult
Justice System

For decades, Connecticut was one of only three states
that prosecuted and punished all 16- and 17-year-olds
as adults. In 2007, the state enacted historic legislation
to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18,
effective January 1, 2010 for 16 year olds and July 1,
2012 for 17 year olds. Even before 17 year-olds became
eligible for juvenile court on July 1, 2012, the new law
kept 8,325 16 year-olds from being prosecuted and
punished in the adult criminal justice system. Extending
juvenile jurisdiction to 16 year-olds has increased
juvenile caseloads far less than expected (22 percent
actual vs. 40 percent projected); as a result, the state
spent nearly $12 million less in fiscal years 2010 and 2011
than it had budgeted. Meanwhile, 16 year-olds served
by the juvenile system have had higher success rates in
alternative programs and lower rearrest rates than youth
15 and younger, disproving concerns that they should be
in the adult system.

6 . AddressED Racial and Ethnic
Disparities in the Juvenile
Justice System’s Treatment
of Youth

While Connecticut cannot claim significant
statewide progress toward reducing racial and ethnic
disparities in its juvenile justice system, the state
has intensified its focus in recent years and launched
promising new initiatives to address this pervasive
and troubling problem. Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice
Advisory Committee (JJAC), the state advisory group,
commissioned three in-depth studies analyzing
racial disparities at 18 decision points in the state’s
law enforcement and juvenile court processes. The
JJAC has also trained nearly 1,400 police officers on
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) since 2007.
Pilot projects in Bridgeport and Hartford have reduced
juvenile court referrals of Black and Hispanic students
for misconduct at school by 40 percent (Bridgeport)
and 78 percent (Hartford), and reduced the overall
number of Black and Hispanic youth referred to juvenile
court in both sites. In 2011, the state legislature enacted
a new law requiring state juvenile justice agencies
to prepare biennial reports on their DMC goals and

7. ReducED Arrests at School
for Routine and Non-Serious

Though Connecticut has not yet demonstrated
significant statewide progress, it is making important
strides. Nine Connecticut school districts have signed
agreements with police limiting the circumstances under
which students can be arrested at school. In one pilot
district (Manchester), by the spring of 2012, arrests and
expulsions both fell by more than 60 percent compared
to the prior school year. The School-Based Diversion
Initiative (SBDI) also is working in nine sites to promote
mental health treatment rather than disciplinary
or justice responses to misbehavior by emotionally
disturbed students. An independent evaluation found
that SBDI decreased the number of students arrested
and/or suspended, and reduced subsequent misbehavior.
In 2011, juvenile courts began rejecting referrals involving
youth arrested for minor misbehavior. Of the first 221
cases the courts refused to prosecute, more than half
involved school arrests. Connecticut schools have also
sharply reduced out-of-school suspensions in the past
five years.



Perhaps Connecticut’s most impressive achievements
are that its overall spending on juvenile justice (after
adjusting for inflation) has not increased despite the
implementation of many new programs and services, and
the state’s juvenile crime rate has dropped considerably
even as confinement rates plummeted. Among youth 15
and under (the state’s traditional juvenile population),
total arrests fell 48 percent from 2002 to 2011 and
serious violent crime arrests fell 51 percent. Among 16
year-olds, total arrests and serious violent crime arrests
fell 35 percent and 26 percent respectively from 2009 to
2011, the first two years after Connecticut 16 year-olds
became eligible for juvenile court. Meanwhile, after
adjusting for inflation, the two agencies that administer
Connecticut’s juvenile justice system -- the Department
of Children and Families and the Judicial Branch’s Court
Support Services Division -- spent $2 million less on
juvenile programs and facilities in the 2011-12 fiscal year
than they had 10 years earlier.





Timeline of Change:

The T r an sformation in C onnecticut ’s Juvenile J ustice System Over Two De cades







When you ask William Carbone about the state of Connecticut’s juvenile detention centers in the
early 1990s, he can’t help but grimace. “The facility in Bridgeport was an embarrassment to walk
through,” exclaimed Carbone, who speaks from experience; not only has he overseen the state’s
juvenile probation and detention programs as executive director of the Court Support Services
Division since its founding in 1999, but he held other senior positions in the Connecticut Judicial
Branch and the Office of Policy and Management for a decade and a half before that. “There
was no space for recreation; no space for programming.” Indeed, the problems involved much
more than the physical plant and affected not just Bridgeport, but all three Connecticut detention
centers providing short-term custody of youth pending court hearings or awaiting placement
to residential facilities. A class action lawsuit filed in 1993 exposed that the facilities were:



Located in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, the
detention centers for youth ages 15 and younger suffered
from severe overcrowding, with an average population
of 114 youths per night (and sometimes more than 130)
crammed into three facilities designed to hold a total of
64. As a result, many youth slept on floors or doubled or
tripled up in cells built for one.

Despite the acute needs of many detained youth,
screening and treatment for mental health issues were
inadequate. In some cases, young people didn’t even
receive their prescribed medications.


Many of the rooms had no toilets, and sometimes –
when guards were slow to respond or refused to let
youth out of their cells – children were left with no
choice but to urinate on the floor or into towels.

Often, children who misbehaved were placed on room
confinement – locked alone, day and night, sometimes
for days at a time.

The state employed no classification system to separate
youth accused of violent offenses from those who were
truant or were caught shoplifting, younger children from
older teens, or large youth from small. Combined with
the severe crowding that forced multiple youth into
cells designed for one, this put youth in danger. Several
sexual assaults were reported.


Education for detained children typically lasted just two
hours per day, and – in violation of federal constitutional
requirements – the facilities routinely failed to assess
the special education needs faced by a large share of the
detained population or to follow individual education
plans for youth known to have learning disabilities.
Overly Punitive

Perhaps worst of all, most of the children exposed to
these conditions weren’t accused of serious offenses or
didn’t pose significant risk to Connecticut’s citizenry.
The first named plaintiff in the detention lawsuit, Emily J.,
for instance, was never charged with a crime. A learningdisabled 13 year-old with a homeless mother and missing
father, Emily J. had been arrested only for truancy. Yet
she spent months in detention, confined to a cell with
two other girls, often for more than 21 hours per day.
Indeed, most of the 3,000 youths placed into Connecticut
detention centers in 1992 were accused of nothing more
than misdemeanors, or like Emily J., status offenses such
truancy or running away that would not be illegal for adults.
The problems in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system
were not limited to the detention centers: the system
was plagued with shortcomings, top to bottom.




Excessive Reliance on Incarceration
and Out-of-Home Placements

many youth handcuffed and foot-shackled to their
beds, sometimes for hours;
•	 Lax suicide prevention protocols, despite an average
of two suicide attempts every month.

Like the detention centers, Connecticut’s long-term
facilities were also overflowing with youth ages 15 and
younger who posed few dangers.

Summing up conditions at Long Lane, the Hartford
Courant in 1998 described the facility as “deplorable,”
and a “wretched warehouse.”

At the state’s youth correctional facility, called the Long
Lane School, just one-third of residents in the early 1990s
were “serious juvenile offenders” found guilty of highlevel felony crimes, whereas 40 percent were adjudicated
only for misdemeanors or for violating court orders
stemming from a truancy charge or other status offense.

Lack of Non-Residential Alternatives
Despite the minimal risks posed by most youth in Connecticut’s detention centers and at Long Lane, for the
most part the state did not support any alternative programs in 1992 – options such as community supervision,
day treatment or home-based therapy programs – that
could be used in lieu of detaining children or committing them to a state-funded residential facility.*

However, many Long Lane residents had serious social
and mental health issues: 70 percent had special
education needs, most were years behind in school,
half were victims of abuse or neglect, and three-fourths
had a history of running away from home. Most were
from low income families. Opened in 1870, Long
Lane wasn’t designed or equipped to work with these
low-risk, high-needs children, and its staff had limited
capacity to provide mental health or social services
counseling or treatment.

In 1995, Long Lane’s superintendent confessed to the
Hartford Courant that “we need to develop a lot more
community resources for kids who should be out of
here. Some kids are here for being persistent runaways or
for breaking a judge’s curfew. They shouldn’t be here.’’

Long Lane’s population (which averaged 230 children)
consistently exceeded its design capacity of 172.
Meanwhile, hundreds of other youths adjudicated in
Connecticut’s delinquency courts with even less serious
records than the Long Lane population were removed
from home and placed in private residential programs. For
instance, more than 150 youths per year were committed
to correctional or residential facilities in the early 1990s
based on probation violations, not new offenses.

Unsafe and Inhumane Conditions of
Unlike the state’s detention centers, no class-action
lawsuit was ever filed over conditions at Long Lane,
and the facility received little scrutiny until 1998, when
15 year-old Tabatha Ann Brendle hanged herself there.
Investigations following this tragedy revealed that youth
confined at Long Lane endured shameful conditions and
treatment, including:

•	 Widespread use of lockdowns and solitary confinement;
•	 Frequent use of physical restraints. While no data is
now accessible for 1992, published information from
1997-98 revealed 544 incidents in 12 months, with



The dearth of community programs was especially
glaring in light of the costs: locking non-dangerous
children inside these troubled facilities cost Connecticut
taxpayers upwards of $200 per day each – several
times the price of even the most ambitious nonresidential alternative program.

Youth Prosecuted and Punished
as Adults
Connecticut’s lopsided overreliance on confinement
and the poor treatment provided to youth in custody
were troubling, but not unique. Similar flaws could
be observed in juvenile justice systems across the
nation. For instance, a 1993 study of 28 states found
that only 14 percent of youth in correctional training
schools were committed for violent offenses, while
more than half were committed for property or drug
crimes and were serving their first terms in a state
institution. And a national review of conditions in
juvenile detention and corrections facilities found
pervasive overcrowding and understaffing, widespread
violence against youth and staff, and glaring gaps in
suicide prevention.

One exception to this lack of non-residential programming was an experimental project funded and evaluated by Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Advisory	
  Committee, using funds from the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.





What made Connecticut’s juvenile system unusual and
especially problematic was that the maximum age of
juvenile jurisdiction was 15. Unlike all but two other
states (New York and North Carolina), in Connecticut
every 16 or 17 year-old arrested or convicted of
any offense, even a common misdemeanor, such as
shoplifting or simple assault, was prosecuted as an
adult, and most were given a criminal record that would
last a lifetime. In 37 states and the District of Columbia,
the maximum age of juvenile jurisdiction was 17, and in
10 other states 16. As a result of this draconian public
policy, 13,000 young people ages 16 and 17 who were
arrested in Connecticut each year were denied the
protections of the juvenile justice system. Many of
the 16 and 17 year-olds arrested were not prosecuted
or convicted, while others convicted for minor offenses
completed community service or paid small fines or
restitution. But thousands of underage youth were
placed on probation each year, and several hundred
16 and 17 year-olds each year were sentenced to adult
prisons, where they received very limited education
and little rehabilitative counseling developmentally
appropriate for adolescents.

delinquent, and removed from their homes. Hundreds
of status-offending youth were confined in a detention
center each year for probation rule violations, and
dozens were committed to state custody as delinquent
and sent to the Long Lane training school or other
residential facilities.

Inappropriate Prosecution and
Detention of Status Offenders

Seven years later, Connecticut released a comprehensive
analysis of racial disparities in juvenile justice. The
findings were eye-opening. The 1990 U.S. census showed
that three-fourths of the state’s youth were nonHispanic Whites. Yet more than three-fourths of youth
confined at Long Lane School were Black or Hispanic,
even though just 11 and 10 percent of the state’s youth
population were Black or Hispanic, respectively. The
minority overrepresentation study also found that,
controlling for offense and other characteristics,
Black and Hispanic youth were more likely than White
youth to be detained and held for longer periods in
detention. Once committed to state custody, Black and
Hispanic youth were also more likely than their White
counterparts to be placed at the Long Lane training
school, held in a maximum security unit, and remain
longer at the facility.

Connecticut’s punitive approach to youth also applied
to those under 16, including young people who had
committed no crime. In 1992, more than 2,000
Connecticut children ages 15 and younger were referred
to juvenile court under the Family With Service Needs
(or FWSN) law for status offenses, such as skipping
school, running away from home, or other behavior that
would not be illegal for adults. More than one-third
of these children were required to participate in a formal
court hearing.
Many youth adjudicated as status offenders were placed
on court-ordered probation supervision, and then, if they
violated the terms of their probation by, for instance
skipping school, violating a curfew, or testing positive for
drugs, they could be brought back to court, adjudicated

Unequal Treatment of Black and
Hispanic Youth
In 1988, the U.S. Congress amended the federal Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to add a fourth
core requirement for states to remain eligible for
federal juvenile justice funding. The prior requirements
included rules to deinstitutionalize status offenders,
limit confinement of juveniles in adult jails, and maintain
sight and sound separation between juveniles and adults
when youth were held in jails or prison. With the 1988
amendment, Congress required states to address (or at
least examine) the problem of disproportionate minority
confinement – a pervasive trend in juvenile justice in
which children of color are detained and incarcerated
at higher rates than White youth even when they have
similar offending histories.

544 incidents
of physical restraint of confined youth were
documented in 1997-98 at Long Lane School




An Ineffective System
Virtually nothing about the system in 1992 was results-oriented. To that point, little research
had been compiled to show convincingly that any strategy worked better than any other,
and little effort was expended in the state to track outcomes, see what was working (or not
working), or reallocate resources to strategies that proved effective.
No one measured juvenile recidivism in Connecticut. Little or no energy was spent examining
the costs and benefits, in terms of public safety or youth success, of sending young people
to the training school versus community-based alternatives. Serious proposals involving
new approaches to treating, supervising or counseling court-involved children, such as day
treatment centers, intensive probation, electronic monitoring, or family counseling, were
rarely proposed or debated by policymakers. Whereas Connecticut began in the early 1990s
to develop a range of alternative sanctions programming for adults, the state continued to
send a constant stream of children, most of them youth of color, and few with any history of
committing serious crimes, into cramped detention facilities and then to the century-old Long
Lane training school.
This situation was allowed to persist because, quite simply, juvenile justice remained a
backwater in Connecticut state government. Mike Lawlor, an East Haven prosecutor who was
elected to the state legislature in 1986, admits that “I didn’t know anything about juvenile
justice” in the early 1990s, even though he served on the Judiciary Committee from his very
first day in office.





1993: The Lawsuit
In October 1993, the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union (CCLU) filed the Emily J. lawsuit seeking redress for
114 separate deficiencies in the state’s treatment of youth within the pre-trial detention centers, the poor
quality of education and mental health services, and the lack of alternative-to-detention programming
for youth.

Initially, the state fought the litigation. But gradually, state leaders switched gears and entered into
negotiations to settle it. “Conditions in the centers were unacceptable,” said Thomas White, who served
as Connecticut’s Director of Detention Services in the mid-1990s. The thinking, White recalls, was that “if
we felt we wanted to make dramatic changes to detention in the state, why fight the lawsuit when we
could partner with the court and the CCLU under the consent decree?” Christine Rapillo, Director of
Juvenile Delinquency Defense and Child Protection in Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Public Defender,
recalls the Emily J. lawsuit as a crucial first step in Connecticut’s juvenile justice reform movement: “It
really began to focus the state’s attention on what the juvenile justice system is supposed to be.”

1995: The Reform Law
Just as youth crime was becoming a headline issue in 1995, Mike Lawlor was named co-chair of the
Judiciary Committee and charged with spearheading the development of a major juvenile justice reform
law. The first thing Lawlor discovered about Connecticut’s juvenile justice system was how insulated it
had been. “Nobody had answers to even basic questions about how the system worked, or how well.
There was a big cone of silence around [juvenile justice], and we were opening up the window shade and
looking inside.”

Suddenly, juvenile justice “was really a hot political issue,” Lawlor recalls. Connecticut’s juvenile
crime rates were way up, a 15 year-old’s heinous double-homicide case was making headlines in local
newspapers, and a nationwide, full-scale public panic had erupted over a rapid rise in juvenile violent
crimes. Lawlor involved many colleagues and stakeholders, including lawyers, probation officers,
police, prosecutors, psychologists, university professors and other experts, in his efforts to develop a
comprehensive juvenile justice reform package. Together, they crafted an elaborate compromise between
the Democrat-dominated legislature and Republican Governor John Rowland.


The bill addressed three central concerns of the state’s law-and-order conservatives: (1) changing the
purpose clause of the state’s juvenile code to focus on public safety and accountability, not just the best
interests of the child; (2) broadening the list of offenses requiring automatic transfer to adult court and
giving prosecutors discretion to transfer other cases; and (3) relaxing confidentiality rules to give victims
and their families the right to learn about sanctions imposed on juveniles who harmed them.


However, most of the bill’s text and virtually all of its funding supported a dramatic expansion of the
state’s diversion and intervention programs for youth. In January 1996, a policy group authorized under
the law issued a plan calling for $16 million in new funding for the recommended treatment programs in
the first three years, plus an additional $62 million funded through savings from downsizing the Long Lane
training school and other existing programs.





1997: The Settlement
In March 1997, Federal District Court Judge Richard Chatigny signed off on a consent decree to settle the
Emily J. lawsuit. Under the settlement, which involved five years of federal court supervision, the state
agreed to reduce crowding; improve education, recreation, and mental health services; and train staff in
behavior management to reduce the use of seclusion and restraints. In addition, the state pledged to begin
funding a wide range of mental health programs and other community-based alternatives to reduce the
reliance on detention for youth involved in less serious crimes.
1998: The Suicide
The September 1998 suicide of Tabatha Ann Brendle, a girl confined inside the state’s Long Lane training
school, prompted a major investigation at Long Lane and many critical news stories. The state’s Child Fatality
Review Board found that Tabatha had been sexually abused and neglected repeatedly throughout her life,
and had attempted suicide on previous occasions at Long Lane and in earlier child welfare placements.
“There’s no question that Tabatha was in need of intensive psychiatric treatment and that the counseling
provided was simply insufficient to meet her needs,” the report found. The fatality review panel also
examined the conditions at Long Lane generally, finding “grossly inadequate” staffing, deficient mental
health care, a decaying and poorly lit physical plant, flawed suicide prevention, and widespread overreliance
on harsh disciplinary tactics – particularly seclusion, physical takedowns, and mechanical restraint chairs 	
– without a functioning grievance process to investigate possible abuses and hold staff accountable. The
Hartford Courant summed up the situation at Long Lane as “neglect bordering on cruelty.”
1999: The Consolidation
In early 1999, Connecticut reorganized its Judicial Branch, consolidating the state’s juvenile and adult
probation offices, juvenile detention centers, family services division, bail commissioner, and Office of
Alternative Sanctions into a single unit called the Court Support Services Division. The consolidation proved
a crucial turning point in Connecticut’s journey toward juvenile justice reform in two ways. First, by putting
the juvenile detention, probation, and alternative sanctions offices under a single roof, it created a powerful
hub for new thinking about juvenile justice and for creating an integrated system. Second, the man named
to lead the new division, William Carbone, proved a tireless and widely respected innovator. Formerly
the director of Connecticut’s Office of Alternative Sanctions, Carbone has led the division ever since and
has used his position to continually modernize its approaches to juvenile justice, embracing research and
building the data-gathering and analysis capabilities necessary to monitor outcomes, make adjustments, and
maximize successful outcomes for youth.
2001: The New Training School
Following Tabatha’s suicide, Connecticut’s legislature approved funds for a new youth corrections facility
for boys to replace Long Lane. However, Connecticut’s governor, John Rowland, rejected recommendations
to build a therapeutic facility or a regionalized network of smaller facilities (following the successful
model employed in Missouri). Instead, Rowland fast-tracked a plan to build a new facility modeled after a
maximum security adult prison in Ohio that offered little accommodation for adolescents’ greater need for
educational space. The contract to build the training school was awarded on an emergency no-bid basis.
Later, investigators would find that the contracting process had been rigged, leading to Governor Rowland’s
resignation from office in 2004 and also prison terms for Rowland, his chief of staff, and the contractor.
By then, however, the facility was already a fait accompli: the Connecticut Juvenile Training School opened its
doors and launched operations in August 2001.






Growing Attention, but Few Solutions

This lack of scrutiny for juvenile justice did not persist. Repeatedly over the decade from
1992 to 2002, Connecticut’s juvenile system burst into the news. Frequently, in fact, the system
found itself on the front pages of state newspapers in stories that were often unflattering
and sometimes alarming. All this attention, however, brought only modest change and little
improvement for Connecticut young people in the state’s juvenile courts and corrections
system. Other than conditions and programming inside the state’s pre-trial detention centers,
which improved substantially as a result of the Emily J. lawsuit, virtually all the other flaws
apparent in 1992 still remained 10 years later.

Continued Overreliance on Confinement
Despite the settlement of the Emily J. lawsuit in 1997,
Connecticut’s detention centers remained severely
overcrowded in 2002. Many youth, some as young as 10,
were detained for months due to behavioral or mental
health problems, not delinquency, awaiting mental
health evaluations or placement in treatment facilities.
At the end of 2001, a leading community youth agency
in Bridgeport, the Regional Youth Adult Social Action
Partnership (RYASAP), completed a study of youth
confined inside the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention
Center. It found that just 15% of confined youth
were accused of felonies. Most were confined for
misdemeanors (47%) or violations of probation rules
(33%). “The majority of children are in detention for
violating a court order requiring them to participate
in a service or program… or for challenging the judge,
probation officer or detention official,” the study found.
“Others are in detention because the services they need
are not available in the community.”
At the new Connecticut Juvenile Training School
(CJTS), which opened in 2001 to replace Long Lane, the
average daily population hovered at 153 in 2001, and it
still included many low-risk youth. For instance, just 37
youths at the training school in March 2002 were guilty
of violent offenses, of which 21 were simple fights.
Most youth were confined for criminal mischief, drug
possession, breach of peace, disorderly conduct, petty
larceny, and other lesser offenses. In 2003, a study by
the New England Juvenile Defenders Center found that
Connecticut had the highest youth incarceration rate
in New England.

Troubling Treatment of Confined
Youth Persists
By 2002, after five years of court-supervised remedies
and reforms under the Emily J. consent decree,
conditions inside Connecticut’s detention centers had
improved on many measures: the facilities had been
renovated physically; counseling staff had been hired;
training had improved for custody staff; an in-house
medical service system was developed; educational
programming and recreational offerings were expanded;
suicide prevention protocols were strengthened;
and new alternative-to-detention programs opened.
However, crowding was still problematic in the
detention centers, with as many as 20 youths sleeping
on the floor on a given night, and the state remained
at odds with advocates over the continuing lack of
appropriate services and placements for youth with
serious mental health needs. After hearing testimony
from local judges, state detention staff, and outside
experts, the federal judge in the Emily J. lawsuit ruled in
February 2002 that “children are not getting timely and
adequate mental health services… [and] the evidence
shows their conditions can and have worsened while
they are being held in detention.’’
Conditions were even more troubling in the state’s
new training school for boys. Reports about lack of
programming and problematic treatment of youth began
almost as soon as the training school opened its doors.
A September 2002 report from Connecticut’s Child
Advocate Jeanne Milstein and Attorney General
Richard Blumenthal called the new facility a “dismal
failure” and found that “suicidal children go unsupervised




and young boys are illegally restrained for days on
end.” The Child Advocate and Attorney General
also documented severe problems in the care of girls
remaining at Long Lane School in 2002, including
poor suicide prevention and alarming overreliance on
seclusion. Out-of-state experts and officials from the
Department of Children and Families (which operated
both facilities) also concluded that the new training
school was unsatisfactory.

Non-residential programs now
available, but ineffective
As part of the comprehensive juvenile justice reform
bill enacted in 1995, Connecticut allocated substantial
funding for non-residential and community programs for
the first time in its history. The 1997 Emily J. settlement
committed the state to providing even more alternativeto-detention programming, as well as new mental health
programs and facilities to reduce the confinement
of emotionally and behaviorally troubled children in
detention. Quickly, the state contracted with local
agencies for a wide range of new community programs
under such titles as Gateway Services, Juvenile Justice
Centers, Intensive Case Management, and Juvenile
Supervision and Reporting Centers. The combined
budget quickly rose to exceed $10 million per year.
While these new programs addressed an urgent void in
the Connecticut system, few were informed by research
that just then was emerging about best practices for
working with troubled teens,* and many of the agencies
selected to run the programs lacked capacity and
Initially, the programs received little scrutiny, in part
because Connecticut had no procedure to track
outcomes. But in 2000, the state commissioned the
Connecticut Policy and Economic Council to provide
an in-depth recidivism analysis. The resulting report,
formally released in August 2002, showed that most of
the 22 alternative programs evaluated were ineffective.
Overall, participants in the alternative programs in 1999
had higher rates of recidivism than youth in 1994 who
did not participate in any program. Only two of the
22 alternative programs studied significantly reduced
recidivism. The results were “a major shock and
surprise,’’ a key state senator, Donald E. Williams Jr., told
the Hartford Courant. Meanwhile, other studies found
that major gaps remained in mental health services for




system-involved youth, programming for girls remained
inadequate, and the state still lacked any process to
assess youth and ensure they were receiving services
appropriate to their needs.

Thousands of children still tried and
punished in the adult justice system
Unlike the intense scrutiny faced by the juvenile
courts and corrections system over this decade, little
attention was paid to the state’s handling of older
children, as Connecticut remained one of only three
states that treated all court-involved 16- and 17 yearolds as adults. About 12,000 16- and 17 year-olds were
referred to the adult justice system for law violations in
2002-03 (excluding motor vehicle infractions). Roughly
1,700 were placed on adult probation, and about 300
Connecticut youths were confined on any given day in
adult jails or prisons.
In 2003, Connecticut Voices for Children (www.ctvoices.
org) reported that Connecticut led the nation in the
number of adult jail and prison inmates under age 18,
with 20% more youth confined than any other state. The
report noted that Connecticut incarcerated more youth
in adult prisons than 29 other states combined.

More Youth Than Ever Prosecuted
for Status Offenses
Connecticut’s handling of status offenses also changed
little from 1992 to 2002. In fact, the number of youth
referred to the juvenile court on these non-criminal
charges was rising to an all-time high. Whereas the state
referred 2,500 youths to court in 1992 for status offenses
such as truancy, curfew violations, running away and
other behaviors, by 2002, the figure had grown to more
than 4,000. More than half the youth referred to court
on status offenses had their cases formally processed in
juvenile court, and nearly 1,000 of them were placed on
court-ordered probation supervision. Several hundred
were placed in locked detention facilities for violating
probation – even though they had committed no crime.
Neither Connecticut’s Department of Children and
Families nor the Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services
Division (which oversees juvenile probation) offered
any programs or services designed specifically for
these youth and their families. Most were placed on
probation or referred to other agencies. An alarming
number of these underserved youth soon returned to

By contrast, a 2001 study found that the one evidence-based family therapy program launched for troubled Connecticut teens by the Department of Children and
Families in 1999, Multisystemic Therapy (MST), was proving effective. Poitras, Colin, “State Tries New Family Counseling – Multisystemic Approach May Help More
Youths,” Harford Courant, January 30, 2002.



court charged with probation violations or with actual
crimes. Though no data are available for 2002, 566
youths referred to court on status offense charges in the
2006-07 fiscal year (16 percent of all cases) were found
guilty of subsequent crimes within 6 months.

Racial disparities – modest progress
In 2001, Connecticut released its second comprehensive
analysis of racial and ethnic overrepresentation in
juvenile justice, examining data from the 1998-99
program year. The study found that racial imbalances
had been reduced since the early 1990s at a few decision
points. Unlike in 1991, Black and Hispanic youth accused
of serious offenses were no longer more likely than
comparable White youth to be convicted of a serious


charge, and no longer more likely than White youth
to be placed in a correctional facility (as opposed to
placement in a therapeutic facility) if convicted.
However, many significant racial disparities remained.
Black and Hispanic youth comprised more than 70
percent of the population placed in detention or
committed to the Long Lane training school in 1999,
more than three times their share of the state’s overall
youth population. Another study published in 2003
found that youth of color comprised 15.5 percent of
the state’s youth population, but they represented 74
percent of youth ordered into residential custody by
Connecticut delinquency courts, the highest minority
overrepresentation rate in New England.

A Crescendo and a Turning Point
The steady drumbeat of increasingly worrisome developments during the prior decade
reached a crescendo in 2001 and 2002 with a series of eye-opening reports and incidents
occurring in rapid succession: alarming problems were revealed at the state’s brand new
training school, overcrowding continued at the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center, and
youth placed into the state’s new alternative programs experienced shocking failure rates.
Developments related to the Emily J. lawsuit also came at a rapid pace in 2001 and 2002.
Under the 1997 Emily J. settlement agreement, the five-year federal court supervision period
was scheduled to end in 2002. But Emily J. litigator Martha Stone of the Center for Children’s
Advocacy at the University of Connecticut School of Law remained unsatisfied.  The state,
she said, had not fulfilled its obligation to provide timely and sufficient care to youth with
serious mental illnesses and to keep them from languishing in detention. The Department
of Children and Families contested the argument, resulting in damning testimony from
state judges and other experts who described their frustration as children waited weeks in
detention due to the lack of residential and community-based treatment programs. Soon
after, the presiding judge in the Emily J. case ruled that the state was violating children’s
rights to timely care, and a new settlement agreement was signed.
After all the distressing developments during this decade, the system’s problems were widely
understood by 2002 and impossible to sweep under a rug. Even the purported solutions –
a settlement agreement, new alternative programs, a new training school – were not yet
turning the tide.
Perhaps the best news to emerge over the decade from 1992-2002 was that, by the time
2002 rolled in, these grave deficiencies plaguing the state’s juvenile justice system were
increasingly obvious to state leaders and the public. Connecticut was in turmoil over juvenile
justice, and a vigorous reform movement was beginning to take root.










A Transformed System

Over the decade from 2002 to 2012, Connecticut transformed its juvenile justice system.
Of the seven core problems it was facing – the seven focus areas of this report – Connecticut has:
• Fundamentally solved two – ending both the criminalization of status offenders and the
practice of routinely trying and punishing 16- and 17-year-olds in the adult justice system;
• Made dramatic improvements on three other challenges—sharply reducing overreliance on
confinement, improving treatment of confined children, and building an exemplary continuum
of effective community-based services; and
• Launched ambitious and sophisticated new efforts to combat the remaining two challenges—
unequal treatment of Hispanic and Black youth and overly harsh school discipline, which
included excessive arrests at school for low-level misbehavior.
Connecticut has made these improvements without increasing its budget for juvenile justice
(adjusted for inflation), and the changes have had no negative impact on crime or public safety
in the state. Rather, youth offense rates have declined steadily throughout the reform period.

Raising the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction
On July 1, 2012, Connecticut 17 year-olds came under
the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system – the final
step in the long struggle to end the state’s harsh and
counterproductive practice of sending children who
commit crimes to the adult justice system.
The reform effort was spearheaded by the Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Alliance (Alliance), which was formed
in late 2001 by a coalition of the state’s leading youth
advocates. Initially, the Alliance’s reform agenda did
not focus on the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, and
prospects for raising the age looked poor after a highlevel panel led by the state’s chief juvenile court judge
issued a report in February 2004 estimating that adding
16 and 17 year-olds to the juvenile caseload would cost
the state $84 million in higher operating expenses and
$81 million in new construction costs. The report also
suggested that the change might have a detrimental
effect on children already in the system.

More than

Nonetheless, members of the Alliance saw the
opportunity for success and embraced the issue. It
rolled out the “Raise the Age Connecticut” campaign
in early 2005 based on a recommendation from the
Campaign for Youth Justice (, a national
advocacy organization that offered to provide both
financial and logistical support for Connecticut’s efforts.
The Alliance engaged leaders in the state legislature,
won over a handful of key judges, mobilized families,
fed stories to the media, and launched an all-out
education and advocacy blitz to push the reform effort.
In 2006, moved by testimony from the mother of a 17
year-old mentally ill boy who committed suicide while
incarcerated in one of Connecticut’s adult prisons, the
legislature authorized a new panel, which included
members of the Alliance, to develop a plan for raising
the age. A year later – in July 2007 – the state enacted
an historic Raise the Age law, based on a plan ironed out
through intensive negotiations involving all the state’s

youths have been spared prosecution in
adult courts as of June 30, 2012





16 year-olds
on juvenile
have better
outcomes than
younger youth











Source: Connecticut Judicial Branch
Court Support Services Division
Jan 2010 - May 2012


key stakeholders. The law called for 16 and 17 year-olds
to enter the juvenile system beginning on January 1, 2010.
However, faced with a state budget crisis and continuing
resistance from some law enforcement leaders, the
legislature amended the law in 2009 to slow down the
implementation – allowing 16 year-olds to enter the
juvenile system at the start of 2010 as scheduled, but
delaying the entry of 17 year-olds until July 1, 2012.
Sarah Bryer, director of the National Juvenile Justice
Network, calls Connecticut’s Raise the Age law “perhaps
the most salient victory we’ve seen” nationally in
juvenile justice reform. “When you’re one of only three
states that treats 16 year-olds as adults, and when you
then step up and say ‘no more,’ it’s a big deal. It brought
a lot of attention to the issue nationally.”

From the perspective of Connecticut’s children, Raise
the Age has been even more significant, and will only
grow more so in subsequent years now that 17 year68
olds are included in the juvenile system. Already,
from January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012, 8,325 16 year-olds
have been spared prosecution and punishment in the
adult criminal justice system, and thousands more have
benefitted from juvenile counseling and treatment
programs previously unavailable to them.
Population counts in the state’s detention centers have
risen only marginally since Raise the Age went into
effect, remaining well below capacity, and the training
school’s population has seen no measurable growth. In
fact, in the midst of the Raise the Age implementation,
Connecticut actually shut down one of its three state-


























Source: Crimes Analysis Unit, CT State
Police, CT Department of Emergency
Services and Public Protection



THE Drop in
total arrests
for 16 year-olds
accelerated after
“raise the age”
was implemented




operated detention centers due to low census in 2011,
saving $2.45 million in the state’s fiscal year 2011-12 budget.
Meanwhile, 16 year-olds served by the juvenile courts and
corrections system have achieved higher success rates in
alternative programs and lower rearrest rates than youth
15 and younger – refuting arguments that 16 year-olds are
not appropriate for the juvenile justice system.
Both Connecticut state agencies working with justiceinvolved youth continue to adjust their policies and add
new programming to suit the population of older youth.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) -- which
operates the state’s training school, oversees other
residential facilities, and provides aftercare for youth
returning home from these placements -- has added
vocational training and college-level classes for youth
at the training school. To enhance reentry, DCF also
created supervised independent living facilities where
youth without access to a safe and secure family home
can begin learning to live on their own after release from
correctional custody or residential treatment. The Court
Support Services Division, which operates probation
and community-based programs and treatment services
for probation youth, has also added a number of new
educational and vocational services for older youth, plus
training and support to help them develop independent
living skills.
“We’re adjusting to working with these older youth,” said
Brett Rayford, Director of DCF’s Division of Adolescent
and Juvenile Services. “They present different challenges,
and sometimes they have those [negative] behaviors
pretty ingrained. Our job is to instill hope, and to develop
their educational and vocational skills while teaching
them to live independently.”

for status-offending
youth, reforms lead
to rapid decline
in FURTHER court



Programs, Not Prosecution for
Status Offenders
Swept up in the zero tolerance ethos of the 1990s
through early 2000’s, Connecticut steadily increased
the number of youth referred to court under the
state’s status offender law, Family With Service Needs
(or FWSN). Referrals to court for status offenses grew
from just under 2,100 in 1994 to more than 4,000 in
2000. Numbers remained above 4,000 every year
until 2007, when reforms began taking hold. In 2004,
65 percent of the 4,161 FWSN cases were handled
judicially and had their cases heard in court (versus 35
percent diverted from court), and 23 percent of the
cases reaching court (over 600 cases) resulted in formal
probation supervision. Hundreds of these youths were
subsequently detained for violating probation rules,
and about 80 were committed to state custody as
delinquent in 2004 without ever committing a crime.
All that began to change in 2005 when the legislature
approved a bill prohibiting detention for violating a
court order in any case arising from a status offense.
Known as the “valid court order” exception, this tactic
is still used around the country to get around the
federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act’s
prohibition on locking youth up for status offenses.
Beginning in 2007, youth in Connecticut could no
longer be detained or committed to custody solely for
violating probation or disobeying a judge’s order. Martha
Stone, a founding member of the Alliance, litigator in the
Emily J. lawsuit and director of the Center for Children’s
Advocacy (, worked with key
legislators to make the case for change.



OCTOBER 1, 2007


Source: Justice Research Center,
FWSN Process and Outcome Evaluation, 2010


FY 06-07

FY 07-08

FY 08-09




arrests for
15 and under
have dropped
since 2005












Source: Crimes Analysis Unit, CT State
Police, CT Department of Emergency
Services and Public Protection

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

of a case being filed and provide them with an array of
services that include screening and assessment, crisis
intervention, family mediation, mental health treatment,
resiliency skill-building, educational evaluations and
advocacy, and short-term respite care.

In 2006, the legislature formed an advisory board to
recommend plans for improving the state’s handling of
FWSN cases. In July 2007, the state legislature adopted
the board’s recommended plan, which called for
non-judicial handling of virtually all FWSN cases and
authorized a new network of Family Support Centers
to provide targeted services for FWSN youth and their
families.* The centers contact families within three hours

• The share of status offense referrals formally processed
in court has fallen from 50 percent of those referrals
filed in 2006 to 4.5 percent of all status offender
referrals filed in 2010 and 2011;



The state still lacked any non-court programs or services
to assist status offending (FWSN) youth. No one, other
than a probation officer, interacted with the children
and their families or attempted to determine why, for
instance, they weren’t attending school or why they
ran away from home. Outcomes for FWSN youth were
poor: 52 percent of youth sent to detention in 2005 had
previously been referred to court on a status offense
and one-third of youth referred on FWSN charges in
2006-07 were arrested and/or referred again to court
within six months.

Since 2007, when the law went into effect, the FWSN
caseload has plummeted, and the success rates of
Connecticut’s status-offending youth have soared:
• The number of youth detained for status offenses has
dropped from 493 in 2006-07 to 0 in 2008-09;

• Seventy percent fewer status-offending youth were
arrested for a subsequent delinquent offense in 2008-09
compared with two years earlier, and their behavior has
reportedly improved both at home and in school.


















Source: Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, Census of
Juveniles in Residential Placement,
1997 – 2010. Accessed 1/5/2013 at













The legislature initially provided funding for just four Family Support Centers – located in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Waterbury. Beginning in 2010,
the state has expanded the Family Support Center services statewide.



Reducing Overreliance on Confinement


Connecticut’s falling juvenile detention populations
have been driven by several factors. The new FWSN
(status offender) programs and policies have prevented
hundreds of detention admissions per year and also
resulted in fewer subsequent delinquency charges
against status-offending youth. So too have new
probation practices developed by the Court Support
Services Division (CSSD) and aggressively promoted to
line staff, including new rules requiring a supervisor’s
approval before a youth can be detained for violating
probation. And a widely expanded continuum of mental
health treatment programs has reduced the number
of days youth spend in detention awaiting appropriate
placements. Finally, CSSD has created a new Clinical
Coordinator position – licensed clinicians employed by
the Judicial Branch to identify youth who suffer with
significant mental health issues, expedite any required
mental health assessments, and match youth to timely
and appropriate care. CSSD data show that these Clinical
Coordinators save the state more than $450,000 per
year by preventing unnecessary evaluations and reducing
lengths of stay in detention.

Connecticut has sharply reduced the number of youth
confined in prison, held in detention facilities, and
committed to the state’s training school or other
residential facilities.
The average daily population in detention fell from 132
in 2006 to 71 in 2010. The detention population rose
in 2011 as 16 year-olds entered the juvenile system, but
remained far below the 2006 level, allowing the state
to close one of its three detention facilities. The state
has slashed total commitments to its training school
and other residential facilities from 680 in 2000 to 216
in 2011, even with the addition of 16 year-olds to the
juvenile system. The average daily population at the
state training school declined from 229 in 1993 to 153
in 2001, to 109 in 2011, also counting 16 year-olds.
Meanwhile, Connecticut has reduced the under-18
population incarcerated in the state’s adult prisons from
403 in January 2007 to 151 in July 2012.
The reduced number of youth in state prisons can be
attributed in part to the Raise the Age law. In addition,
the drop in imprisoned youth also reflects the state’s
falling crime rates and has likely been aided by the
dramatic reduction in commitments to the state
training school. A growing body of research documents
alarming recidivism among youth incarcerated in
juvenile facilities, and several studies have found that
juvenile incarceration increases the likelihood of future
involvement with the justice system, particularly for
youth with less serious offending histories.

The decline in the number of youth confined in the
training school and other residential placements
following juvenile court adjudication is the result of
several factors:
• Fewer Youth in detention: youth detained prior

to their court dates are three times more likely
to be committed to custody than youth who
remain successfully in the community during the
pre-adjudication period.

number of youth COMMITTED TO residential placement dropped by nearly 70% since 2000


JANUARY 1, 2010













2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010


Source: CT Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division




• Improved screening process: Commitments are now

only allowed for high-risk youth. Youth with lowerlevel offenses are placed on probation or diverted
from the court process entirely.
• Better probation practices and programs : Despite

handling many youth who would previously have been
committed, new counseling and treatment programs
have enabled Connecticut to reduce the share of
probation youth who are re-arrested or referred to
juvenile court by more than four percent since 2006-07.
• Case Review Teams: Since 2005, whenever a young

person is being considered for commitment, CSSD has
convened a team meeting that includes the youth,
his or her family, educators, treatment providers, and
representatives from the Department of Children
and Families (DCF) and CSSD to discuss the case and
explore options to help the young person remain
safely in the community. Of the first 597 cases
considered by these teams (from 2005 to 2007),
72 percent of the youth were able to avoid an
out-of-home placement.
• Closing gateways to delinquency and incarceration:

Connecticut’s diminishing correctional population also
reflects its success in closing several of the historic
gateways to the deep end of its juvenile justice
system. For instance, Connecticut’s FWSN reforms
have reduced the number of status offending youth
who lapse into delinquency. Also, the state is making
progress in stemming the “school-to-prison pipeline,”
reducing suspensions, expulsions, and arrests for
low-level misbehavior in school that can substantially
increase the odds that at-risk students drop out and
end up in delinquency court. Finally, Connecticut is
taking steps to improve the treatment of “cross-over”
youth – those involved simultaneously in both the
child welfare and delinquency court systems – who
are also at elevated risk for commitment.
• Shorter lengths of stay: A final factor in Connecticut’s

declining population of youth in custody has been a
gradual reduction in the length of time youth spend
in the state training school and other residential
facilities. From 2002 to 2011, the average period of
time that boys spent away from home following
commitment declined from 304 days to 176 days. The
length of stay for girls has fallen less dramatically
(from 190 days to 174) over this period. But, overall,
the shorter period of confinement has been a
significant factor in reducing the daily population of
youth in state custody.



Establishing a Continuum of Community
In the late 1990s, DCF began experimenting with a
new research-driven non-residential treatment model,
Multisystemic Therapy (MST), which had produced
encouraging results in multiple scientific trials involving
substance-abusing, delinquent, and mentally ill teens.
Based on favorable results in the initial projects,
combined with mounting pressure from the Emily J.
lawsuit to expand and improve mental health services
for court-involved adolescents, DCF quickly ramped
up its investment in MST for substance-abusing and
behaviorally troubled youth. In 2003, DCF added a
second, evidence-based, non-residential treatment
model for high risk adolescents, Multidimensional
Family Therapy.
In the wake of the disappointing 2001 study showing
alarming recidivism rates in its initial cohort of
community-based programs for juvenile offenders,
CSSD closed down most of the programs and began
funding a new set of evidence-based and researchinformed community programs. CSSD has continued
to expand and improve its network of programs, as
has DCF. Both DCF and CSSD subsequently committed
extensive funding to expand and improve the network
of evidence-based community programs available for
court-involved youth. By 2009, the combined annual
budget for these programs reached $39 million.
For its highest risk youth, CSSD offers two intensive
family-focused treatment programs, Multisystemic
Therapy (MST), and Intensive In-Home Child and
Psychiatric Service (IICAPS). Combined, 628 of
Connecticut’s serious and high-risk probation youths
were enrolled in MST or IICAPS therapy in 2011. Other
youth assigned to probation are served by one of CSSD’s
12 YES! Centers around the state, which offer a mix of
individual and/or group programming, including several
evidence-based family treatment programs other than
MST or IICAPS. Group programs teach such skills as anger
management, moral reasoning, drug refusal, emotional
regulation and self-awareness. In addition, probation
staff has been trained to engage young people and their
families individually, and to then identify and build on
their goals and strengths.
In addition to these CSSD programs, DCF provides
evidence-based community treatment for several
thousand more youth every year, many of them
involved in the juvenile court system, through a new



Behavioral Health Partnership that is funded with a
combination of state tax dollars and federal Medicaid
funds. The widespread availability of effective
community-based treatment programs has been a crucial
factor in reducing Connecticut’s detention population
and in diverting youth with high needs who are not a
significant risk to public safety away from the juvenile
justice system.
Finally, Connecticut now provides extensive programming
for youth diverted from court. In addition to the Family
Support Centers for FWSN youth (status offenders),
the state has expanded its network of Juvenile Review
Boards (JRB). These panels, comprised of community
volunteers, police, school personnel, and/or local
agency staff, consider the cases of youth who have
admitted to committing minor offenses. After consulting
with the young person and his/her family, the JRBs
impose an appropriate sanction, which may include

A National Leader in
Use of Evidence-Based
FAMILY Treatment
Source: Greenwood, Walsh, & Rocque,
Implementing Proven Programs for Juvenile
Offenders: Assessing State Progress,
Association for the Advancement of
Evidence-Based Practice, December 2012.



participating in substance abuse treatment or after
school programs, writing a letter of apology to the
victim(s) of their offense, or cleaning up, repairing
or paying restitution for any damage they have caused.
For many years, the JRBs operated only in the state’s
suburbs and small towns. In 2006, the Department
of Children and Families provided funds to launch
JRB programs in Connecticut’s three largest cities –
Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven. It has been
providing approximately $200,000 per year to each
city to support the JRB diversion efforts. In 2013,
DCF will begin funding JRB programs in the remaining
three of the six DCF regions of the state.
Referrals to these various alternatives are guided by a
rigorous screening and assessment process. “The system
is designed to make sure the right kids are placed into
the right program,” said CSSD Executive Director
William Carbone.

Connecticut’s adoption of evidence-based programs has outpaced most other states.
A study released in December 2012 calculated every state’s utilization of the three
most promising treatment models for youthful offenders – Multisystemic Therapy,
Functional Family Therapy, and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care – all of which
involve intensive family therapy. The study identified Connecticut as one of five
states that have adopted these models far faster than the rest of the nation, with 10
or more treatment teams per million residents in the state population. (The national
average is roughly two teams per million residents.)













Connecticut’s Array of Evidence-Based
Family Interventions
BRIEF STRATEGIC Family Therapy ®

Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is designed for medium-risk children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and
17 who display or are at risk for substance abuse, conduct problems, delinquency, and other behavior problems. BSFT is
typically delivered in 12 to 16 family sessions at home or other locations convenient to the family. The treatment aims
to correct maladaptive family interactions, inappropriate family alliances, and parents’ tendency to unfairly blame
all problems on a single individual (usually the adolescent), with the expectation that transforming how the family
functions will help improve the youth’s behavior. BSFT has demonstrated significantly better outcomes than other
adolescent treatment methods in several evaluation studies dating back to 1988.
Functional Family Therapy

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a highly-structured family therapy treatment model program for youth ages 11-18
who exhibit or are at high risk for delinquency, violence, substance use, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant
disorder, or disruptive behavior disorder are the target population. FFT usually requires 8-15 sessions for referred
youth and their families, and up to 26 sessions for severe cases. FFT therapy is typically conducted in an office
setting but can be delivered in the home or at school and other community settings. FFT’s effectiveness has been
demonstrated in a long series of clinical studies dating back 40 years. In one evaluation, 40 percent of youth randomly
assigned to FFT avoided subsequent arrests following treatment, compared with just 7 percent of youth assigned to
other treatments.


Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services is (IICAPS) is a rigorous home-based intervention model
for children with serious psychiatric disorders who are at high risk for placement into psychiatric or correctional
facilities, and whose families need assistance in managing them safely in the home and community. The IICAPS model
was designed by adolescent treatment experts at the Yale Child Study Center to address maintain high-needs youth
at home, rather than removing them from their families and placing them into expensive (and often ineffective)
residential programs. Thhe IICAPS model, is currently being evaluated in a random assignment study, but results will
not be available until 2015.

MultiDimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is a family-based treatment developed for adolescents with drug and
behavior problems, and for substance abuse prevention with early adolescents, with a heavy emphasis on family
therapy. The treatment seeks to curb the adolescent’s substance abuse and other problem behavior, and to improve
overall family functioning. MDFT has proved significantly more effective than group therapy, family discussion groups,
and other treatment approaches in several random assignment studies.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care

Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MDFT) is targeted to children at the highest risk for out of home placement.
In MDFT, youth are assigned to live with a foster family and receive counseling for up to a year while their parents (or
guardians) simultaneous receive counseling and parenting skills training. At the end of the therapy process, youth are
reunited with their biological families. MDFT has been evaluated extensively, with excellent results.
MultiSystemic Therapy

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that focuses on
addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders -- their homes and families,
schools and teachers, neighborhoods and friends. MST works with youth ages 12 through 17, including youth with
long and serious offending history . MST clinicians go to where the child is and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days
a week. MST is an evidence-based “Blueprint” program endorsed by OJJDP, US Surgeon General and other national
leaders in juvenile justice.




Gender-Specific Services Added for Girls
Led by both DCF and CSSD, Connecticut has also
developed an ambitious continuum of services for
girls involved in its juvenile justice system. From 1999
to 2002, a series of studies found that one-third of
all juvenile cases in the state involved girls, many of
whom had committed only status offenses or low-level
misdemeanors and most of whom had suffered neglect,
physical or sexual abuse, and other trauma. Despite
their low risk to public safety, girls were regularly
detained or committed to residential facilities often
because the state lacked community-based treatment
for serious mental health problems, substance abuse
disorders, and other needs. Since 2001, when the state’s
legislature enacted a law demanding more genderresponsive programming, “Connecticut has made
significant improvements to probation, detention,
and diversion systems for girls,” a recent Georgetown
University study declared. Together DCF and CSSD
worked with Yale University and an outside consultant
to develop program guidelines for girls services. DCF
has adopted gender-specific parole supervision for
girls returning home following commitment to state
custody. It also has created a network of private
agencies operating group homes and other facilities for
girls – bringing the providers together to meet monthly


and requiring each agency to prepare periodic selfassessments to measure how well they are adhering to
best practice guidelines. CSSD has created specialized
girls-only probation units and opened a number of
shelter and community-based alternative programs
for girls in lieu of confinement in the state’s secure
detention facilities. Through these efforts, Connecticut
has reduced girls’ detention admissions by 36 percent
from fiscal years 2006 to 2012, while boys’ detention
admissions fell 25 percent. Commitments to state
custody also fell sharply for girls in this period.

Improving Conditions of Confinement

Since 2002, Connecticut has continued to significantly
improve conditions inside its detention centers.
Specifically, improvements have been made in
education, recreational programming, and medical
care, as well as the physical condition of the facilities
themselves. Connecticut has become the only state in
the nation whose detention centers are accredited both
by the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the
National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The
one serious deficiency that remained in 2002, a lack of
appropriate mental health treatment alternatives, has
been addressed. CSSD and DCF have strengthened their




mental health screening and assessment processes and
created a substantially expanded set of communitybased programs and services. This has reduced the
number of youth with severe mental health needs
placed into detention, as well as the length of stay for
those who are detained.
Training School

The terrible conditions documented in the new
Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) by the
state’s Attorney General and the Child Advocate in
2002 only grew worse in the succeeding two years. The
situation descended into acute crisis in May 2004 when
a weekend of unrest resulted in the restraint of 21 youths
and sent eight staff to the hospital with injuries. Two
months later, a new report from the Attorney General
and Child Advocate documented 119 suicide attempts
at the facility over the prior year, including several
close calls.
The state issued a temporary moratorium on admissions
to the training school in mid-2004, and it hired a
national expert, Don DeVore, to revamp the facility’s
operations. DCF quickly slashed the facility’s population,
sending many youth with less serious offenses home to
participate in community programs. Within four months,
the census had dropped from 150 to 72 boys. DCF also
closed the facility’s punitive, high-security restraint
unit where many of the worst incidents had occurred,
instituted intensive staff training in crisis management,
improved substance abuse counseling and behavior
management programs as well as the facility’s education
system, and invited families to participate in family
counseling and to attend occasional “Family Nights” at
the facility.
Through these efforts, the environment at the training
school improved. In 2009, CJTS earned accreditation
from the ACA after demonstrating 98.7 percent
compliance with ACA’s 455 national standards and best
practices related to programming, services, and safety.
Despite continuing concern about its physical limitations
(such as small cells with narrow windows), the training
school has avoided scandal since 2005 and has gradually
earned the respect of youth advocates. For instance,
Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Executive Director
Abby Anderson said in a 2009 interview, “I think [CJTS is]
doing a tremendous job with what it’s been given.”
Since 2009, DCF has continued to enhance programming
at the training school. For instance, the department
has intensified its procedures for assessing the mental



health needs of training school residents, including a
new screening procedure to identify those with histories
of serious trauma, and added an array of new evidencebased cognitive therapy programs. It has established a
Boys Club program at the facility both to teach life skills
and to connect the young men to Boys & Girls Clubs and
other supportive services in their home communities
upon their release. And now that the facility is housing
more 16 and 17 year-olds (due to Raise the Age), it has
forged connections with a local community college to
provide college level courses and vocational training
Even with the addition of older youth, safety at the
training school continues to improve. Arrests within the
facility have fallen from 108 in 2008 to 25 in 2012, and
assaults on staff have also fallen during this period.
In 2013, DCF will undertake a major reconstruction
project that will remedy longstanding problems with
the structural design of the training school. Units
that were previously broken into prison-like cells will
be transformed into open recreational space, a new
school will be created on the campus, and a new open
housing unit will be created for younger residents. When
the project is completed, says William Rosenbeck,
CJTS’ superintendent, “there will be much more of
a consistent feel of a boarding school, without the
trappings of a prison.”

Stemming the School-to-Prison Pipeline
In 2007, Connecticut’s leaders began to grapple with a
pervasive and growing problem that had long eluded
public discussion: excessive punishment of public
school students for routine misbehavior. Following
the national trend toward zero tolerance school
discipline, Connecticut schools were suspending tens
of thousands of children every year. State Department
of Education data for the 2005-06 school year showed
that Connecticut schools issued 77,000 out-of-school
suspensions, resulting in more than 250,000 missed
school days. In one Bridgeport elementary school that
year, a student body of 263 children was handed 391 out110
of-school suspensions. Over three in five of the 86,000
out-of-school suspensions issued statewide in 2006-07
were for breaking school rules, such as insubordinate
behavior, classroom disruptions, and truancy. Just two
percent of cases involved weapons and less than one
percent involved violence (other than routine fighting).
While no statewide data from this time period were
available on the number of Connecticut youth arrested
in schools, this problem was clearly growing. Encouraged


White youth than
FOR Black or
Hispanic youth
FROM 1999-2010




Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, Census of Juveniles in Residential
Placement, 1997 – 2010. Accessed 1/5/2013 at



by the availability of federal funding, Connecticut
schools increasingly employed “school resource
officers,” inviting local police to patrol school hallways,
or – in some of the state’s largest municipalities –
hiring their own school district police forces. A study
prepared in 2006 found that over half of all youth
arrests in Bridgeport (more than 600 in 2003-04) took
place at school during the school day. Combined, three
Hartford-area school districts saw nearly 300 arrests at
school in 2006-07.




more than 60% district-wide, and expulsions were down
69% at the high school and 63% district-wide compared
to figures from the prior school year.

In 2007, Connecticut’s legislature passed a law sharply
limiting schools’ use of out-of-school suspensions.
Approved with strong bi-partisan support, the law
prohibited out-of-school suspension except for youth
who threatened school safety or disrupted the school’s
educational mission so severely that removal was
essential. Even before the requirement went into effect
in 2010, the number of out-of-school suspensions
declined 30 percent statewide.

With support from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative
and DCF, Connecticut launched the School-Based
Diversion Initiative (SBDI) in 2009, led by the
Connecticut Center for Effective Practice of the Child
Health and Development Institute (
This model promotes mental health treatment rather
than disciplinary or justice responses to misbehavior
by emotionally disturbed students. SBDI began in
two pilot sites, expanded to seven sites and launched
two additional sites in 2012/13 with funding from the
Connecticut Department of Education and other state
agencies. An independent evaluation found that SBDI
increased the use of emergency mobile psychiatric
services, decreased the number of students arrested and
suspended, and reduced subsequent misbehavior.

Connecticut leaders have launched a variety of further
efforts to reform school discipline and reduce school
arrests. Based on a model document developed by
Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee
(JJAC), an office overseen by the state’s Office of Policy
and Management that administers federal juvenile
justice grant funds, nine Connecticut school districts
have signed memoranda of understanding with local
police aimed at reducing arrests at school for low-level
misbehavior. These school-police partnerships have
also received grant funding from the JJAC to support
their efforts. In two of these districts, local officials,
in partnership with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice
Alliance, launched particularly ambitious pilot programs
in 2011 aimed at reducing school-based arrests; a third
district initiated major changes in 2012. At the end of
the 2011-2012 school year arrests were down 78% at
Manchester High School (one of the pilot sites) and

In 2011, Connecticut juvenile courts began rejecting
referrals involving youth arrested for very minor
misbehavior. Of the first 221 cases the courts refused
to prosecute, more than half involved school arrests.
“We’re hoping schools will come up with a new
approach,” said William Carbone, CSSD’s executive
director. “The more children are arrested and processed
in court for minor infractions, the more likely they’ll
be to come back to us, and the more separated they’ll
be from school. We don’t serve public safety by
encouraging unnecessary referrals to court.” That same
year CSSD began to collect and analyze data on school
arrests for the first time, finding that 1,612 Connecticut
students were arrested at school during the 2011-2012
school year. CSSD is now also breaking down these
data at the local level, and providing regular updates on
school arrests to local coalitions striving to stem the
school-to-prison pipeline.




The Connecticut Department of Education has been
training school districts to implement School-Wide
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a
proven model for promoting a safe and positive learning
climate in schools with minimal reliance on punishments
and sanctions. The model is now being adopted in
approximately 300 schools in 54 Connecticut school
districts – nearly one-fifth of all schools in the state.
In 2011, Connecticut Public Television produced and
aired a documentary, Education vs. Incarceration, and
organized 22 community-based forums across the state in
partnership with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance,
raising public awareness and generating dialogue around
the school-to-prison issues and potential solutions.

Addressing Racial Disparities
Reducing the disproportionate juvenile justice contact
of Black and Hispanic youth remains a work in progress
in Connecticut. In fact, the state’s third comprehensive
assessment of racial and ethnic overrepresentation,
completed in 2009 using data from 2005 to 2007, showed
that the situation had actually deteriorated – with several
prior disparities growing more pronounced, and some
new disparities appearing. Progress toward reducing
disparities was seen only at a handful of the many decision
points examined.
This lack of progress comes despite years of concerted
effort by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC).
The JJAC has maintained a subcommittee dedicated to
combatting racial and ethnic disparities, and commissioned
the three comprehensive studies on racial disparities that
have been lauded by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice as
some of the most in-depth, decision-point analyses in
the country.
Based on data showing that police have been more likely
to refer Black and Hispanic youth to juvenile court than
White youth, the JJAC has conducted 76 training sessions
on Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) since
2007 involving nearly 1,400 police officers. A 2008
 evaluation showed that this training had a lasting
positive impact on participating officers’ knowledge
and attitudes about youth development and issues
related to racial disparities.
Since 2011, the Washington, DC-based Center for
Children’s Law and Policy ( and
Connecticut’s Center for Children’s Advocacy have
partnered with local teams in two communities,



Bridgeport and Hartford, to develop comprehensive
data-driven work plans to reduce DMC and unnecessary
processing and detention of youth generally. In the first
phase of the project, the two communities combed
through all available data to identify decision points
where disparities are most prevalent and brainstorm
possible solutions. Since then, the teams, which meet
monthly, have begun taking concrete action on their
local plans.
Much of the effort has focused on school discipline,
since Black students in Connecticut are four times as
likely as White students to be expelled or receive an
out-of-school suspension, while Hispanic students are
twice as likely. Agreements have been forged between
public schools and the police in both Bridgeport and
Hartford to limit arrests at school for minor offenses.
School personnel have been trained in positive behavioral
approaches and alternatives to suspension and arrest,
and some schools with high levels of school arrests
have adopted the School-Based Diversion Initiative
model. In addition, the sites have expanded the use
of court diversion for youth accused of misdemeanors
and some low-level felonies, and provided training for
police on alternatives to arrest. The Court Support
Services Division (CSSD) has also developed a court
date notification system (in place in several jurisdictions
around the country for adults) to reduce the number of
youth detained for failing to appear for scheduled court
appointments. As of spring 2012, the sites had reduced
juvenile court referrals of Black and Hispanic students for
misconduct at school by 40 percent (Bridgeport) and 78
percent (Hartford), and the overall number of Black and
Hispanic youth referred to juvenile court has fallen in
both sites.
In addition, CSSD has been providing detailed DMC data
reports to local jurisdictions on a quarterly basis –
an important new tool for local coalitions working to
combat persistent disparities in the juvenile system.
The Office of Policy and Management has launched
“JUST.Start,” a campaign to educate policymakers,
media, and the public about disproportionate contact
of youth of color with the juvenile justice system. After
determining that a previous law change requiring a court
order to detain youth accused of serious offenses had
helped reduce racial disparities, the state enacted a new
law in 2011 requiring a court order to detain a youth for
any crime. The 2011 law change also requires state juvenile
justice agencies to prepare biennial reports on their DMC
goals and accomplishments.





2001 AND 2011







All arrests

Violent arrests

All arrests

Violent arrests


Source: CT data from State of CT;
US data from FBI UCR reports

A BETTER, MORE COST- Effective System
Available data leave no doubt that public safety has improved as a result of Connecticut’s
juvenile justice reforms. The number of young people arrested in Connecticut has declined
substantially. Among children 15 and younger, Connecticut’s traditional juvenile justice
population, total arrests have fallen steadily since 2002, with 48 percent fewer arrests in
2011 than nine years earlier. And from 2006 to 2011 – when the most ambitious reforms
took effect – serious violent crime arrests for youth under age 16 fell 65 percent. Among
16 year-olds, total arrests and serious violent crime arrests fell 35 percent and 26 percent
respectively from 2009 to 2011, the first two years after Connecticut 16 year-olds became
eligible for juvenile court.

In terms of expense, the entrance of 16 year-olds into the system has increased juvenile
caseloads less than expected (22 percent actual vs. 40 percent projected), lowering the
state’s expenditures to serve these youth to nearly $12 million less than the amount initially
budgeted for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
Overall, despite the vast array of new and improved programming that has emerged in
recent years, Connecticut’s spending on juvenile justice has not increased over the past
decade. The state’s combined expenditures for juvenile justice (including both the youth
corrections programs of the Department of Children and Families, and detention, probation
and community treatment programs operated by the Court Support Services Division)
totaled $111 million in the 2001-02 fiscal year, equivalent to $139 million in 2011, after
adjusting for inflation. In 2011-12, Connecticut’s juvenile justice expenditures totaled $137
million. In effect, the drop in confinement has fully paid for the state’s increased budget for
community-based alternatives. The average daily cost of custody at the Connecticut Juvenile
Training School is $744 for each young person – meaning $134,000 for a typical stay of 6
months. That compares to $10,000 or less for a full course of Multisystemic Therapy or any
of Connecticut’s other community treatment programs.




Youth placed
on probation
are 1/3 less
likely to commit
a new crime than
placed in
Source: Ryon, Early, & Hand, Juvenile
Probation and Residential Services
Evaluation, Justice Research Center,
July 2011.











Moreover, the reduced treatment and supervision costs are only the beginning of the savings
Connecticut will ultimately realize through successful juvenile justice reform. Far more
substantial are the financial and social rewards that come from reducing re-offense rates
(therefore improving public safety), and boosting successful outcomes for court-involved youth.
As a result of Connecticut’s shift away from residential confinement, the evidence suggests that
many fewer youth will re-offend and many more will go on to productive lives in adulthood.
In a sophisticated statistical analysis conducted for CSSD in 2011, the Justice Research Center,
a Florida-based research organization, found that “the predicted probability of recidivism
for youth released from residential facilities (all other factors held constant) was 66 percent,
compared to 50 percent for youth with equivalent backgrounds released from probation.” 	
In other words, youth committed to state custody and confined in residential facilities costing
hundreds of dollars per day were one-third more likely to re-offend than identical youth
supervised and treated on probation for a fraction of the cost.

The cost savings from these reforms reach well beyond the juvenile justice system. The average
costs to society whenever a court-involved young person lapses into a lifetime of serious and
chronic criminality as an adult are estimated at $3.8 million, including wages lost, taxes unpaid,
victim costs, and criminal justice system expenditures. Indeed, society pays a heavy price
whenever a young person re-offends or proves unable to transition successfully into adulthood.
By reducing the number of children who experience these failures, Connecticut’s reforms have
clearly been a financial winner for its taxpayers.

Most importantly, reform has improved the lives of young people, their families, and their
neighbors through gains in public safety and the increased positive contributions these youth are
now able to make to Connecticut communities.





Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut:

Work in Progress

While Connecticut has made impressive strides in addressing a wide variety of flaws in its juvenile
justice system, its leaders are the first to admit that important challenges remain, and much work still
needs to be done:
Racial Disparities

Black and Hispanic youth make up 30 percent of Connecticut’s population ages 10 to 16. Yet they accounted for more
than 70 percent of Connecticut youth admitted to detention in 2010 and nearly 80 percent of youth admitted to the
Connecticut Juvenile Training School. “It troubles all of us,” says William Carbone, executive director of the Court
Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch. Part of the problem is that youth of color enter the justice system
at higher rates than Whites – a fact Carbone attributes to police practices, school discipline policies, and the lack of
services and support in the low-income neighborhoods where many youth of color reside. Yet, studies consistently
find that Connecticut’s youth of color are treated more harshly than similarly situated White youth at numerous
decision points in the juvenile justice process. Connecticut leaders are taking steps to address these issues, but thus
far the data show that progress has been slow.
Excessive Detention Times for Many Girls, and for “Stuck” Kids

Unlike its predecessor, the Long Lane School, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School has never accepted girls.
Thus, for a decade, the state has not had a state-operated secure facility for girls. Instead, it has relied upon an
overstretched network of private facilities for girls requiring residential care, at times resulting in long wait times in
detention. A similar problem has persisted for boys with extreme needs, , the so-called “stuck” kids, including youth
with severe disabilities, low IQ, and acute need for treatment related to problem sexual behavior. The average wait
time in detention for youth awaiting residential placements is more than 35 days – down just 10 percent since 2001.
MEASURING Recidivism

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) tracks the number of youth who are recommitted following release
from state custody, but unlike many states, it does not calculate the number of youth who are re-arrested or
convicted of new offenses following release from DCF custody (including those who land in the adult justice system).
It also does not track re-offending for at least two years following release, as recommended by the Council of
Juvenile Correctional Administrators. Most states track recidivism more rigorously than Connecticut.
Care and Treatment of Youth Remaining in Adult Corrections

The number of youth incarcerated as adults in Connecticut has declined substantially in recent years, and should fall
further now that 17 year-olds are included in the juvenile system. Yet some youth will remain in adult facilities due
to legal provisions mandating or allowing transfer to adult criminal court for those accused of the most serious
crimes. In 2010, 173 juvenile cases were transferred, and as of July 2012, 151 youths under age 18 were in adult custody.
Though the care and treatment of youth in adult prisons has improved in recent years, significant gaps remain, says
Martha Stone, executive director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy. Also, Department of Correction data show
that youth incarcerated in adult correctional facilities suffer alarming recidivism: 85 percent are re-arrested within
two years of release, 62 percent are convicted of new crimes, and 70 percent return to prison on a new charge or
parole violation.






on Confinement

of Confinement


> 	CT pre-trial detention centers filled
to twice their intended capacity.
> 	Many youth detained for status
offenses, not crimes, and most
of the rest are accused of only
misdemeanors. Many suffer from
acute mental health problems.
> 	Also serious overcrowding at CT’s
youth corrections facility, Long
Lane training school.
> 	There, too, many youth
incarcerated for misdemeanors,
status offenses, or probation
violations, not serious crimes.


1993 lawsuit documents terrible
> 	severe overcrowding;
> 	children in rooms with no toilets,
wetting themselves;
> 	widespread use of solitary confinement;
> 	no mental health treatment;
> 	minimal educational programming.
Conditions at Long Lane training school
“deplorable,” says Hartford Courant,
a “wretched warehouse”:
> 	heavy reliance on seclusion;
> 	frequent restraints, with many youth
handcuffed and foot-shackled to their beds;
> 	lack of effective suicide prevention
(despite 2 suicide attempts per month).

> 	No state funding for non-residential

> 	In detention centers, many youth

incarceration for youth (other
than routine probation).
> 	No investment in alternatives to
pre-trial detention for accused
> 	CT created Office of Alternative
Sanctions in 1990, but initial
programming only for adults,
none for juveniles.

still detained for conduct related
to mental health and behavior
problems, and many held months
awaiting mental health evaluations
or treatment.
> 	In Bridgeport juvenile detention
center in 2002, just 15% of
detained youth are accused
of felonies. Most accused of
misdemeanors or rule violations.
> 	At CT’s new training school, just
one-tenth of youth confined for
violent crimes more serious than
simple fighting. Most held for
criminal mischief, drug possession,
breach of peace, disorderly
conduct, or larceny.
> 	Overall, CT has highest youth
incarceration rate in New England.


Conditions improving following
1997 lawsuit settlement, but…
> 	 n February 2002, federal judge
finds “children still not getting
timely and adequate mental health
> 	Crowding remains problematic,
with as many as 20 youths sleeping
on the floor.
New training school labeled a
“dismal failure” where “suicidal children go unsupervised and
young boys are illegally restrained
for days on end.”
> 	Severe problems in care for girls
remaining at Long Lane, including
weak suicide prevention and
overreliance on seclusion.

> 	Created a number of non-residential

> 	Detention admissions decreased by


> 	Funding for non-residential,

more than 40% from 2002 to 2009.
> 	Even after 16 year-olds entered the
juvenile system in 2010, admissions
remain well below 2002 level.
> 	Lower populations enabled CT to
close one of its 3 state-operated
detention centers in 2011.
> 	70% fewer residential
commitments from 2000 to 2011
(680 to 216), even with addition of
16 year-olds to the juvenile system.
> 	Average daily population in
training school down 50% from
1993 to 2011 (229 to 109) – even
with the addition of 16 year-olds.

Significant improvements since 2002
in conditions and programming, and
all detention centers now accredited.
> No reports of serious or chronic
problems with crowding, seclusion
or harsh discipline, or substandard
education programming in detention.
> 	Enhanced services and reduced wait
times for youth with mental health
> 	Fundamental reform effort in 2004-05
improved behavior management at
training school and reduced use of
seclusion and restraint.
> 	No recent reports of serious or chronic
problems with violence, seclusion, or
excessive use of restraints.
		 Plans in progress for major structural,
programmatic and educational
changes, particularly to address the
needs of the older population.

program alternatives in the late
1990s, but..
> 	a 2002 evaluation of CT’s juvenile
programs found that only two of
22 programs studied significantly
reduced recidivism.
> 	Still no process to assess youth
and ensure they are placed in
programs or services appropriate
to their needs.
> 	Still major gaps in mental health
services and girls programming.

family-focused treatment
programs grew from $300,000
in 2000 to $39 million in 2009.
		 With this budget, CT now funds
an integrated continuum of
high-quality programs, including:
		 • non-court programs and
	 services for status offenders;
		 • evidence-based therapies for 	
	 youth on probation;
		 • behavioral health system for
	 court-involved adolescents;
		 • gender-specific programs
	 for girls;
		 evidence-based aftercare
	 programs for youth returning
	 from correctional facilities.





> 	More than 2,000 youths referred

> 	CT was one of only three states

> 	CT’s juvenile justice system suffers

> 	No data available on arrests or

> 	More than 4,000 status offenders

> 	CT remained one of only three

> 	Second comprehensive analysis

> 	Still no reliable data available on

to court in 1992 for status offenses,
of whom more than one-third were
formally processed in juvenile
> 	Many of these youth were placed
on probation for truancy, running
away, curfew violations, and other
> 	A one-day census of juveniles in
confinement in 1991 found that 67
status offenders were confined in
juvenile facilities after violating
probation rules.

referred to court in 2002.
> 	More than half had their cases
formally processed in juvenile
> 	Nearly 1,000 of these statusoffending youth were placed
on court-ordered probation
> 	Several hundred were placed in
locked detention for violating
probation – even though they’d
committed no crimes.
> 	No programs or services for status
offending youth outside the
delinquency system.

> 	New law in 2005 prohibits detention
of status offenders for violating
probation or court order.
> 	New law in 2007 creates Family
Support Centers to work with status
offenders and their families outside
the delinquency court system.
> 	As a result, number of status
offenders detained fell from 493
to 0.
> 	Status offense case referrals down
from 4,560 in 2006 to 2,475 in 2009.
> 	Share of status offender cases
formally processed in court reduced
from 50% of cases in 2006-07 to
under 5%.
> 	Far greater success for status
offenders: 70% fewer status
offenders re-arrested, and improved
behavior documented at home and
in school.

in the U.S. that treated all 16- and
17 year-olds as adults.
> 	Thousands of 16 and 17 year-olds
per year arrested and tried as
> 	Several hundred boys and girls
under age 18 incarcerated in CT
Department of Correction prisons,
where they received little or no
age-appropriate education or
rehabilitative services.

states in U.S. that treated all 16and 17 year-olds as adults.
> 	About 12,000 16 and 17 year-olds
referred to the adult justice
system for law violations in
2002-03 (excluding motor vehicle
> 	Roughly 1,700 16 and 17 year-olds
placed on adult probation, and
about 300 were confined on any
given day in state jails or prisons.

> 	Enacted historic “Raise the Age”

legislation in 2007.
> 	From Jan. 1, 2010 (when the law
went into effect for 16 year-olds)
and June 30, 2012, 8,325 CT 16
year-olds avoided prosecution and
punishment as adults.
> 	17 year-olds became eligible for
juvenile court on July 1, 2012.
> 	Allowing 16 year-olds into juvenile
system increased caseloads far less
than expected, saving $12 million
from amounts initially budgeted
in 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
> 	16 year-olds achieving better
success and lower recidivism in
juvenile system than youth 15-andunder.
> 	17-and-under population in CT
adult prisons declined from 403 in
January 2007 to 151 in July 2012.

with severe racial disparities.
> 	Whites make up three-fourths of
CT youth population, but less than
25% of youth detained or admitted
to Long Lane training school in
1991. More than 75% of confined
youth were Black or Hispanic.
> 	The first comprehensive analysis of
minority overrepresentation in CT’s
juvenile justice system finds that,
controlling for offense and other
characteristics, Black and Hispanic
youth are treated more harshly
than White youth at many stages
of the juvenile justice process.

examining data from 1998-99,
finds that racial disparities have
improved since the early 1990s at
several decision points, but many
disparities still present.
> 	However, a 2003 study finds that
74 percent of confined youth
in CT are minority, even
though minorities were just
15 percent of state’s youth
population – the highest minority
overrepresentation rate in New

> 	Third analysis of minority

representation, examining data
from 2006-07, finds little progress.
In fact, some disparities growing.
> 	However, CT has launched several
efforts since 2007 to combat
• 	 Provided training for nearly
1,400 police officers statewide
to eliminate racial disparities in
treatment of youth;
• 	 Pilot projects in Bridgeport and
Hartford substantially have
reduced school arrests for Black
and Hispanic youth, and reduced
total arrest rates for Black and
Hispanic youth as well;
• 	 Local breakdowns of racial/
ethnic disparities now
calculated quarterly by the
state to support local efforts
to combat disproportionate

school suspension and expulsion
rates during early 1990s.
> 	Virtually no schools in CT had
school-based law enforcement

school arrests.

> 	Data on school suspensions and

expulsions unavailable for 2002,
but 41,227 CT students suspended
at least once during 2006-07,
resulting in more than 250,000
school days missed.
> 	Most suspensions (61%) were for
breaking rules (insubordination,
truancy, disruptive behavior). Just
2% involved weapons and <1%
involved violent crimes (other than
routine fighting).
> 	Growing number of police or
other law enforcement workers
stationed inside CT schools.

> 	In 2007, CT legislature passes

law prohibiting out-of-school
suspensions for minor misconduct.
> 	CT’s out-of-school suspension rate
reduced 30% since 2007.
> 	In 2011, state juvenile probation
department begins refusing to
process some cases for truancy and
other minor school misbehavior.
Of the first 221 cases rejected, more
than half involved arrests at school.
> 	Schools and police in nine jurisdictions
have signed agreements to limit
school arrests and pilot efforts
to reduce arrests and improve
discipline policies underway in other
CT school districts.
> 	In one district (Manchester), school
arrests and expulsions both declined
more than 60 percent district-wide.
> 	CT Judicial Branch began calculating
and reporting school-based arrests
for the first time.



Stat e o f Cha nge: C onne cticut’s Chemistry for Reform


The contrast between the Connecticut juvenile justice system today and the deficient
and scandal-plagued system of 10 and 20 years ago could not be sharper. Connecticut’s
improvements have quickly thrust the state into a position of national leadership on juvenile
justice. Shay Bilchik, who directed the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention in the 1990’s and now leads the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown
University, says that most states are not taking advantage of new practices and research
findings about what works in juvenile justice that could dramatically improve outcomes and
“As a nation, we’re really not there yet,” said Bilchik, “but we have early adopters who are
putting to use the knowledge base we have now.” Citing Connecticut as a charter member of
that select group, Bilchik adds, “We need to celebrate that small cadre of states that are doing
things right.”

What were the core elements underlying Connecticut’s progress in reform? While there were
many critical developments and pivotal players in Connecticut’s reform story, it is impossible to
imagine the dramatic changes occurring without the following:
• Formation of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance and the coalescing of advocates 	
• Commitment by the state to using evidence-based treatment models and other promising 	
practices validated by research;
• A comprehensive statewide juvenile justice strategic planning process that helped forge
a new interagency consensus in favor of working with children and their families within 	
their homes and communities, identifying their risks and addressing their needs – while 	
removing youth from their homes only as a last resort;
• Philanthropic support that provided funding at pivotal moments for advocates and reforms;
• Effective litigation that gave policymakers the push they needed to start and sustain
reform efforts.

1 . Creating a Voice for Juvenile

Justice Reform: The Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Alliance

While Connecticut had a number of organizations
promoting the needs of all children, there was no group
with a laser-like focus on juvenile justice reform. In late
2001, the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (Alliance)
was conceived to fill that void under the leadership of
four organizations: Connecticut Voices for Children,
a statewide policy advocacy organization; the Center
for Children’s Advocacy, a statewide legal services and
advocacy organization; RYASAP, the youth advocacy
organization in Bridgeport; and The Tow Foundation, a
private family philanthropy.

The Alliance created a new forum for advocates and
concerned leaders, and it brought an organizational
capacity to Connecticut’s juvenile justice reform
movement. The coalition, with a steering committee
made up of advocacy agencies, service providers,
parent groups, the state’s Child Advocate, and other
stakeholders, created an agenda for reform that
had previously been absent. As the Alliance added
dedicated staff, it built capacity to recruit and organize
volunteers; engage the media; provide support for public
events; and conduct policy research, data analysis, and
strategic planning for system reform efforts.
The Alliance elevated the conversation around juvenile


justice through a series of annual forums in Hartford
that featured keynote addresses by national experts
and panel discussions with state leaders. These forums
attracted hundreds of policymakers, stakeholders and
families. The Alliance helped to convince leaders in
the Department of Children and Families and the Court
Support Services Division in 2004 to jointly undertake a
juvenile justice strategic planning process. This process
is widely praised today as a key step toward building a
shared vision for juvenile justice in the state.
By 2006, the Alliance had solidified its standing as a
powerful player in Connecticut and emerged as the
driving force behind the state’s historic “Raise the
Age” legislation. “The Juvenile Justice Alliance was
absolutely central to the reform effort” for raising the
age, according to Liz Ryan, executive director of the
Campaign for Youth Justice in Washington, D.C. “They
brought together the different stakeholders and created
a plan that all could get behind, and they had the
discipline to stick with it.
“The Alliance identified and cultivated legislative
champions to take this on,” Ryan added, “not just
members associated with the Judiciary Committee, but
also the money committee, Appropriations.” During
the heat of the legislative debates and in other debates
since, the Alliance became a force multiplier for state
legislators and other allies, providing talking points,
mobilizing volunteers, and filling the room at hearings
and other high profile events. The Alliance brought
in national experts and Connecticut youth and their
families, prepping them to help ensure their testimony
would make the issue real for legislators, systems
administrators and other opinion leaders. All this
attracted steady media attention.
State Representative Toni Walker of New Haven, a
dedicated legislative champion for Raise the Age, recalls
that the Alliance was crucial to her efforts. “Being a
part-time legislator makes it really difficult; you can’t
keep track of all the intricate details [of legislation] on
your own. I really depended on [the advocates] to tell
me what’s going on and what needed to be done. We all
worked well together.”
The Alliance also excelled at grassroots mobilizing. A
postcard campaign resulted in 4,000 messages to state
legislators encouraging them to raise the age. An event
at the Capitol brought over 350 young people,


family members, and other advocates clad in orange
“Raise the Age” t-shirts to the statehouse. The Alliance
has remained a powerful voice in state policy debates,
teaming up regularly with legislative allies to beat back
calls to delay implementation of Raise the Age; to push
for reduction of out-of-school suspensions, expulsions
and school-based arrests; to address racial disparities,
and to help mobilize and support local coalitions
created under the state’s Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan
– known as Local Interagency Service Teams (LISTS) working on juvenile justice issues around the state.


Being a part-time legislator
makes it really difficult;
you can’t keep track of all
the intricate details [of
legislation] on your own.
I really depended on [the
advocates] to tell me
what’s going on and what
needed to be done. We all
worked well together.


– CT State Rep. Toni Walker


2 . Doing What Works: Embracing

Evidence-Based and Outcomes-Focused

As a 20-year veteran working inside Connecticut’s
juvenile justice system, Catherine Foley Geib concurs
that the Alliance has been a key contributor to reform.
“The advocates bring us an outside perspective,”
remarked Foley Geib, currently the Manager of Clinical
and Educational Services in the Judicial Branch’s Court
Support Services Division (CSSD). “They call our
attention to issues that we can’t see, that deserve our
attention, and they hold us accountable.” But, Foley
Geib added, “Even with the best advocacy, if you don’t
have a functional state government, a functional agency,
these great ideas aren’t going to get implemented well.”
Fortunately, CT’s JJ system is widely praised today as
a top-notch provider of supervision and treatment
services for court involved youth. CSSD and its sister

	Agents for Change:
agency, the Department of Children and Family
Services (DCF), have worked together closely in recent
years to make Connecticut a national leader in in the
use of evidence-based and data-driven programming
for youthful offenders.
That wasn’t always the case. According to Peter
Panzarella, the longtime director of DCF’s adolescent
substance programs before retiring in 2012, “when
we looked at adolescent behavioral health services
in Connecticut in the mid-1990s, we were heavily
oriented to institutional services [i.e., residential
treatment facilities], which were very expensive
and not terribly effective. We were very light on
community services.” In 1997, Panzarella secured
a federal grant to establish the state’s first familyfocused, evidence-based treatment program for
adolescents, Multisystemic Therapy (MST), which had
proven highly effective in a series of controlled clinical
trials. When the initial pilot project showed promising
results, DCF added additional MST treatment teams
around the state and began investing in a second
home-based treatment model, Multidimensional
Family Therapy, aimed at youth with deep-seeded
family problems. Today, DCF offers these and other
evidence-based family therapy programs to thousands
of youth each year in its child welfare, behavioral
health, and juvenile justice programs.
In addition, DCF has embraced evidence-based
practices in other aspects of its work with justiceinvolved youth. At the training school, DCF has
provided intensive in-service training for its clinical
staff and introduced a number of proven cognitivebehavioral models for helping youth improve their
perspective-taking and decision-making skills, as well
as state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment. DCF
carefully screens all youth for mental and behavioral
health issues, and it provides specialized treatment
groups for those with a history of serious trauma.
DCF has developed an elaborate quality assurance
process to ensure that private provider agencies
adhere to best practice in the care and treatment of
girls in state custody.
CSSD took a bit longer to embrace the evidence-based
models. The agency was created in 1998 through
the merger of several previously independent units,
including juvenile probation, adult probation, juvenile


At key moments in the effort to reform Connecticut’s
juvenile justice system, members of the state legislature
have stepped forward to provide timely and consistent
• 	 In the mid-1990s, at a time when fear of adolescent crime was
rising and states across the nation were enacting reactive, gettough juvenile justice laws, Connecticut’s legislators took a more
measured and farsighted approach. Led by Michael Lawlor, the
new co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, the legislators crafted
an elaborate juvenile reform law in 1995 that addressed some
of the concerns voiced by law-and-order conservatives, such as
easing confidentiality restrictions and allowing state prosecutors
to transfer serious cases to adult court (subject to judicial
review). However, most of the new provisions in the law – and
millions in new funding – were devoted to creating the state’s
first community-based supervision and treatment programs for
court-involved youth.

• 	 As the Raise the Age campaign was getting underway in 2005,
State Representative Toni Walker and State Senator Toni Harp,
both of New Haven, stepped forward as determined and skillful
legislative champions. Walker and Harp served as co-chairs
of the Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation
Committee that hashed out the details of the Raise the Age
legislation prior to the 2007 legislative session, and Walker
co-chaired the follow-up committee that monitored the
law’s implementation through Fall 2012. During the legislative
battles, Walker and Harp worked closely with advocates to
build legislative momentum, answer members’ policy concerns,
and demonstrate the proposal’s deep and widespread support
among both Connecticut residents and national policy experts.
The “Two Toni’s” (as they are known) serve as co-chairs of the
legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee. From these
positions, they were able to repel opponents’ efforts to delay
implementation of Raise the Age and to ensure continued
adequate funding for juvenile justice reform initiatives at a time
of state budget cuts.

• 	 Other legislators have also made crucial contributions to reform
in Connecticut. For instance, State Representative Gail Hamm of
Middletown was a passionate advocate for reforming the state’s
treatment of status offenders in 2005-2007. “You would not
have had the status offender reform without Gail Hamm,” said
the state’s chief juvenile defender, Christine Rapillo. “She was
relentless, and she was smart enough to get it written into law
that there would be a task force [to address the issue].”


	Agents for Change:


Given their position and the deference they are typically
shown in the state’s political culture, it’s safe to say that
no major reforms were likely to emerge without at least
tacit support from the Judiciary. Fortunately, Connecticut
judges have provided much more than that – often
becoming strong advocates for the reform process.
• 	 Judge Christine Keller, the state’s Chief Administrative Judge
for Juvenile Matters from 2007 to 2012, has been described as
a behind-the-scenes crusader for judicial reform. Keller, who
also served as the state’s chief juvenile judge from 1997 to 2002,
played a key role in forging consensus on the coordinating
committee that crafted recommendations for Raise the Age
legislation in 2006 and 2007. From 2010 to 2012, Keller used
her position to bring attention to excessive school arrests for
low-level misbehavior. She worked closely with the Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Alliance to convene a 2010 training conference
for local teams from across the state to hear about innovative
school-police partnerships to limit student arrests for misbehavior
on school grounds. Since then, Keller has encouraged other
judges to get involved in the issue. “A lot of the judges are really
coming out of their comfort zones,” Keller says. “They’re going to
committee meetings; they’re going to school boards.”

• 	 Judge Barbara Quinn, Keller’s immediate predecessor as the
state’s chief juvenile judge, has also been a pivotal supporter of
juvenile justice reforms. Quinn served on the drafting committee
of the advisory board that developed the Family With Service
Needs (FWSN or status offender) reform legislation in 2006.

• 	 Judge William Lavery, Connecticut’s chief court administrator in
2006 and 2007, also played a key role in the passage of Raise the
Age, helping combat objections that the changes would create
overwhelming costs and logistical challenges. While Lavery was
also concerned about the costs and complications that raising
the age would entail, ultimately he was persuaded by the data
showing that trying all 16 and 17 year-olds as adults would have
negative impacts on youth and public safety, as well as the
detailed planning undertaken by reformers and the widespread
support for the change among top leaders in state government.
Lavery testified in support of the legislation in March 2007,
and his testimony proved a turning point in breaking down
resistance to the law.

• 	 Judge Richard Chatigny, the federal district court judge who
oversaw the Emily J. lawsuit over conditions and services in
Connecticut’s juvenile detention system, also provided crucial
leadership. According to litigator Martha Stone, Chatigny
injected himself into the process at several points and pressed
the parties to reach agreement on reforms, not only to correct
physical conditions, but also to improve mental health
screening and treatment and make appropriate alternatives
to detention available.


detention, and an office of alternative sanctions. At
the outset, CSSD inherited a large number of new
community-based treatment programs for youth.
However, most of these programs lacked any basis
in theory or research, and CSSD was ill prepared to
measure results or carefully assess youth to figure
out which programs might best suit their needs.
“We didn’t have a lot of research and evidence on
how to do this,” said the division’s Executive Director
William Carbone.
CSSD immediately began to build its information
systems. But urgency for change – in fact, the entire
direction of the division’s programming for systeminvolved youth – shifted dramatically in 2001 and
2002 thanks to two catalytic events
The first came in 2001 when Thomas White, then
CSSD’s Director of Operations, led a staff team to
Canada to meet with a group of Carleton University
scholars who had developed an exciting new body
of research. Until the 1980s, criminologists had no
clear evidence that any particular rehabilitation
strategy for youth worked better than any other. Then
scholars began producing evidence that a handful of
model intervention programs outperformed standard
practices in random trials, as long as their complex
models were followed faithfully.
The Canadians’ new research showed that certain
types of programs consistently worked better than
other types, without the caveat that they needed to
follow any particular model. Inspired by this research,
CSSD quickly established a Center for Best Practices to
spearhead an agency-wide campaign to align all of its
programming with available research.
The second catalyst was the state-sponsored
outcomes evaluation of CSSD’s existing alternative
programs by the Connecticut Policy and Economic
Council (CPEC), which found that the programs
were largely ineffective. Youth served by alternative
programs in 1999 had higher recidivism rates than
youth in 1994 who did not participate in any program.
Just two of the 22 programs examined reliably reduced
The CPEC study “created a crisis,” said Julie Revaz,
who oversees CSSD’s best practices center. Within
18 months, the agency scrapped virtually all of its
existing programs, cancelling $7.5 million in contracts.

In 2003, the division began statewide funding for
one evidence-based treatment model, Multisystemic
Therapy (MST), hiring enough therapists to serve 675
youths per year. Since then, CSSD has expanded MST
services and added a number of other evidence-based
model programs, nearly all of which are home-based
and family-focused rather than residential. They are
all based on research showing that these types of
therapeutic interventions yield far better results than
standard probation supervision, and equal or better
results than far more expensive residential confinement
or treatment programs.


Connecticut’s innovative
spirit and commitment
to high quality practice
and system improvement
ensure the state’s role as
one of the most advanced
juvenile justice systems in
the country.


– Shay Bilchik, Georgetown Center for
	 Juvenile Justice Reform
“It would have been easier to work with those [existing]
programs and try to make them better,” said Carbone,
“but we replaced them” with proven models.
In addition to instituting evidence-based programs, CSSD
also developed a scientifically validated assessment
tool to determine the needs of individual youth, and
a sophisticated management information system to
track results and determine how well programs were
working and for which youth. Prior to these investments,
explained Carbone, “we knew how many youth we were
serving, in terms of a headcount, but we had no data
at all on how well they were doing, how timely our
services were, or what the reasons were for failures or
probation violations.”
To Shay Bilchik, this commitment to evidence makes
Connecticut stand out among states as a leader in
juvenile justice: “They are heavily invested in data, and
they’ve really used data in their day-to-day management
of the system…They’ve really spent time developing
evidence-based programs.”

Leaders throughout Connecticut share similar respect
for the agency. “CSSD is a high-functioning agency,” said
Rep. Toni Walker, a champion of juvenile justice reform
in Connecticut’s legislature. Adds Christine Rapillo,
the state’s chief juvenile public defender, “Bill Carbone
is so good at understanding that you’ve got to prove
what works.”

3 . Building a Consensus: The

Connecticut Juvenile Justice
Strategic Plan

A third critical step for Connecticut’s juvenile justice
reform efforts began in 2004, when advocates affiliated
with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance helped
to convince leaders in CSSD and DCF to undertake a
strategic planning process for the state’s juvenile
justice system.
By 2004, the two agencies had begun working more
closely together, thanks to their status as joint
defendants in the ongoing Emily J. lawsuit over
conditions in the state-operated detention centers and
the lack of community alternatives for court-involved
youth. Rather than resisting, leaders of both agencies
embraced the idea of a statewide juvenile justice
strategic plan, which quickly grew into an immense and
pivotally important undertaking.
Facilitated by experts from the Child Welfare League
of America with funding support from the state
legislature, the process involved a hundred stakeholders
representing various levels of staff from state agencies,
the courts, community and family groups, philanthropy,
and academic experts. The effort started with
community listening sessions where more than 450
children and families shared their experiences with the
juvenile justice system, followed by extensive strategy
work by three committees (each with several active
subcommittees). General sessions to discuss the overall
progress of the various committees were well-attended
throughout the nine-month process.
Published in August 2006, the resulting Juvenile Justice
Strategic Plan embodied a progressive new consensus for
the state that was shared by advocates, public agency
leaders, and even the law enforcement community. It
helped pave the way for the rapid adoption of major
reforms that have continued from 2007 to the present day.
A third critical step for Connecticut’s juvenile justice
reform efforts began in 2004, when advocates affiliated


with the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (Alliance)
helped to convince leaders in CSSD and DCF to
undertake a strategic planning process for the state’s
juvenile justice system.
By that time, both CSSD and DCF were heartily
embracing evidence-based treatment models and
other data-driven best practices. Yet severe problems
remained in the state’s treatment of troubled and
delinquent youth, and the state’s juvenile justice system
still lacked a unified and coherent strategy. By 2004,
the two agencies had begun working more closely
together, thanks to their status as joint defendants in the
ongoing Emily J. lawsuit over conditions in the stateoperated detention centers and the lack of community
alternatives for court-involved youth. Recognizing
the need for a more cohesive system, leaders of both
agencies embraced the idea of a statewide juvenile
justice strategic plan, which quickly grew into an
immense and pivotally important undertaking.
Specifically, the Strategic Plan endorsed a number
of ambitious goals long sought by the advocacy
community, such as providing 16- and 17 year-olds
with age-appropriate services in the juvenile justice
system and diverting status offending youth from
court whenever possible. The plan advocated vigorous
action to address racial disparities and disproportionate
minority contact in the juvenile system, and it
highlighted the importance of enhancing communitybased services to divert youth from juvenile court
and from the juvenile corrections system. In addition,
the Strategic Plan drew attention to the excessive
reliance on suspensions and expulsions for misbehavior
in schools – an issue that had received little notice
previously – advocating instead for alternative discipline
strategies to keep youth in school.
Along with setting broad goals for reform, the Strategic
Plan outlined improvements to ensure the juvenile
system was evidence-based, data-driven, competently
staffed, and outcomes-oriented. Among its major
recommendations, the Strategic Plan called for
systematic use of reliable screening tools to ensure that
youth were assigned to programs and services matched
to their individual needs and risks, and it stressed the
need for rapid adoption of evidence-based programs
and treatment strategies. It called for improved
coordination and information-sharing between CSSD


and DCF, as well as new mechanisms to ensure greater
coordination across the entire range of agencies and
professionals involved in the lives of delinquent youth
(including educators and mental health providers).
Also, the plan advocated for major investments in staff
training and workforce development so that front-line
workers in probation, community treatment programs,
and residential facilities were culturally competent
and well-versed in effective practices for working with
high-risk youth.


accomplishments reflect
the essential elements
of effective juvenile
justice reform: dedicated
leadership, stakeholder
collaboration, use of data
to drive decisions, and a
shared belief in serving
youth and families in their
own communities.


– Mark Soler, Center for Children’s Law and Policy
The Strategic Plan created a number of new mechanisms
to foster continuing attention to juvenile justice
and create an ongoing platform to promote further
improvements in the state’s juvenile system. It called
for the creation of Local Interagency Services Teams (or
LISTs) in every juvenile court district in the state. These
LISTs involve a cross-section of community leaders
concerned with juvenile justice who meet regularly
to identify and discuss local issues and challenges and
inform state officials about gaps or problems in state
policies and programs that affect their communities.
The plan also created an “Executive Implementation
Team” to oversee and monitor the state’s efforts to
implement the Strategic Plan. This oversight body, which
has continued to meet quarterly since 2006, has helped
ensure that state leaders retain their focus and follow
through on the Strategic Plan recommendations, and
it has created a high-level forum for leaders to discuss
emerging issues and challenges.

	Agents for Change:
Finally, the Strategic Plan committed state leaders
to a new Results-Based Accountability (RBA) system
that holds state agencies accountable for achieving
specific and quantifiable performance goals related
to juvenile justice, and then monitoring progress
over time. For instance, under the RBA process, the
juvenile probation department reports its progress
regularly on a series of measures tied to common
sense questions such as: “how much did we do?”
(tracking new juvenile court intake cases annually);
“how well did we do?” (the share of probation youth
served in treatment programs appropriate to their
individual risks and needs); “how well did we do it?”
(percentage of youth taken into custody for violating
probation rules); and “is anyone better off?” (both
the re-arrest rates of youth served by probation
and the number of youth committed to state
custody annually).
“I firmly believe that without a shared vision and a
plan to execute it with concrete goals and measures,
Connecticut’s progress on juvenile justice reform
would not have been anywhere near as widespread
and comprehensive as it has been,” said Emily Tow
Jackson, executive director of The Tow Foundation,
a co-founder of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice
Alliance. “I feel the [Strategic Plan] paved the way for
future reforms and legislative wins.”
Anne McIntyre Lahner, who served as the
Department of Children and Families’ point person
on the Strategic Plan, identifies the state’s attitudinal
shift as the most important impact of the process. “It
changed our whole understanding of who these kids
are,” said McIntyre Lahner. “We looked deeply at the
underlying significant needs of the juvenile justice
kids. Many of them have suffered trauma or abuse;
a lot of them have been through our child welfare
system, or have serious mental health problems. This
new shared understanding of who the kids are and
what they need, it really changed the conversation.”

4 . Providing a Base of Support: The

Tow Foundation and Others Commit
to Juvenile Justice Reform

A fourth key catalyst for Connecticut’s impressive
strides in juvenile justice reform has been the
emergence of steady and substantial philanthropic

Advocates and
the Media

Center for Children’s Advocacy

A founding partner of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance,
the Center filed the Emily J. lawsuit in 1993. Led by Martha Stone
since its inception, the Center has initiated litigation related to
numerous child welfare and juvenile justice policies and practices
that has helped to drive important reforms in both systems and
identified emerging issues, such as youth homelessness, trafficking
and the needs of girls.

Connecticut Voices for Children

A founding partner of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance,
Voices produced juvenile justice research vital to reform efforts
and took the lead in raising awareness of excessive school
suspensions and school-based arrests.
The Regional Youth Adult Social
Action Partnership (RYASAP)

A local youth advocacy organization in Bridgeport and founding
partner of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. RYASAP
continues to provide a home to the Alliance and serve as its
fiscal agent. RYASAP’s longtime executive director, Robert
Francis, has been co-chair of the Alliance steering committee
since it was founded. In 2000, RYASAP convened the Greater
Bridgeport Juvenile Justice Task Force, bringing local leaders and
advocates together on a regular basis to identify and address
concerns related to juvenile justice – a model that has now been
replicated statewide in the form of Local Interagency Service
Teams in every juvenile court district.
Parents and Families

Families have consistently injected their perspective into policy
discussions around juvenile justice. Through grassroots organizing
and state-level advocacy, FAVOR, Inc., a statewide family advocacy
organization led by Hal Gibber, that is focused on behavioral
and mental health services for children, and African Caribbean
American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP) have
helped keep parents’ voices at the center of reform efforts
statewide and hold system leaders accountable. Longtime
AFCAMP Executive Director, Merva Jackson, who passed away
in 2012, served on the Executive Implementation Team for the
state Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan and participated on many of
the task forces and legislative committees that have shaped key
reforms in Connecticut.
The Media

The media has played a crucial role by shining a light on the
need for reforms. Examples include reporter Colin Poitras, who
wrote more than 300 news stories about juvenile justice for the
Hartford Courant between 1994 and 2008 and the Connecticut Mirror,
an online news service that covers state government; Connecticut
Public Television, which aired the important documentary,
Education vs. Incarceration, in 2011; and Youth Rights Media, a
New Haven nonprofit organization whose youth members have
produced influential documentaries since 2002 on juvenile justice
and related topics.


	Agents for Change:

State Partners
Juvenile Defenders

The state’s chief juvenile defender, Christine Rapillo, worked to
protect children’s constitutional rights throughout the reform
process, including serving on several state committees. Rapillo
serves as co-chair of the Alliance’s steering committee and plays
a key role in its oversight of Connecticut’s Raise the Age law. She
also sits on the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and
the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Advisory Committee on
Juvenile Justice.
Juvenile Prosecutors

The state’s chief juvenile prosecutor, Francis Carino, sat on many
of the planning committees charged with framing major reforms
representing the perspective of law enforcement and the issues
around public safety. Carino has volunteered his time to design
and deliver trainings to help court and law enforcement personnel
implement new reform laws and work with local Juvenile Review
Boards to help establish effective diversion programs.
Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee

Housed in the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), the JJAC
has long played a key role in focusing attention on crucial issues
in juvenile justice. Led by Valerie LaMotte, the JJAC sponsored
intensive analyses of disproportionate treatment of youth of color
in the state’s justice system and trained nearly 1,400 police officers
on appropriate handling of juvenile cases. The JJAC also allocates
federal juvenile justice resources to a variety of reform and system
improvement projects every year.
Center for Effective Practice

The Connecticut Center for Effective Practice of the Child Health
and Development Institute, led first by Dr. Janet Williams and
currently by Dr. Robert Franks, was created in 2001 to improve
Connecticut’s mental health and juvenile justice systems. It has
published two major reports that recommended practice changes
in mental health service delivery; evaluated and supported
replication of MST programs statewide; published a juvenile
justice system guidebook for parents and caregivers of children
in the system; and developed and implemented the School- Based
Diversion Initiative (SBDI) targeting at risk youth vulnerable to
school-based arrest. The Center continues to train hundreds
of DCF and CSSD staff annually in best practices related to
adolescent development, evidence-based treatment, and traumafocused services for youth.
Local law enforcement

Leaders around the state, such as Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph
Gaudett, have actively worked with the education and judicial
systems to help reduce school arrests and support training of
officers on how to minimize racial and ethnic disparities in their
handling of juvenile cases.


support. Since the late 1990s, The Tow Foundation,
based in New Canaan, has provided more than 300
grants totaling $12 million to support juvenile justice
reform efforts statewide, including direct services,
research and advocacy. Other foundations, both
within and outside Connecticut, have also provided
invaluable assistance to juvenile justice advocates,
innovators, and reformers. Within the state, the
Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded dozens
of grants to support juvenile justice and adolescent
mental health projects and the Edward S. Moore
Family Foundation and Hartford Foundation for
Public Giving have also contributed significantly. In
addition, national funders, such as Public Welfare
Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the
JEHT Foundation, have all provided important
support for Connecticut juvenile justice reform
projects, often leveraged by local foundation
investments. In addition, using funds from a variety
of national foundations, the Campaign for Youth
Justice provided substantial financing to support
the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance’s successful
Raise the Age campaign.
Viewed in perspective, the total value of philanthropic
contributions to juvenile justice reform from Tow
and other foundations remain modest – vastly
overshadowed by the state’s annual spending
for juvenile justice facilities, programs, and services,
which exceeds $137 million per year. Yet, the
steady and consistent availability of even this
limited funding has been critical, reinforcing and
rewarding the efforts of advocates and youth-serving
agencies to continue testing new approaches and
pushing for change.
“Connecticut is unusual in that we have a foundation
that has made juvenile justice a key priority,”
explained Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance
Executive Director Abby Anderson. “This is not a
population that gets a lot of attention from anyone,
especially not from people with money.
“[The consistent philanthropic support] gives our
work a strong base, a spine, so we always know
there’s something we can build on,” Anderson added.
“In states that don’t have a foundation like Tow –

a funder which has made a long-term commitment to
the issue – it’s hard to get people involved
[in juvenile justice reform]. A foundation can help bring
people to the table. It can make it safe to
do the work.”


The Connecticut story
speaks to the power of
partnership between
tireless advocates
and reform-minded
policymakers working
together to do right by
youth, families, and


– Katayoon Majd, Public Welfare Foundation

5 . Accelerating Reform Through
Over the past four decades, lawsuits have made a
crucial difference in addressing abuses and improving
conditions of confinement in many states. However,
litigation has often been effective as a fulcrum for deep
and sustained reforms, particularly in jurisdictions where
system leaders view litigation as an obligation to be met
with minimalistic corrective action plans and legalistic
compliance rather than seeing it as a call to action
to revamp policies and practices that are ineffective
and/or inhumane.
In Connecticut, however, litigation has proved a
powerful lever for success. The filing of the Emily J.
lawsuit in 1993 marked the beginning of the state’s
juvenile justice reform movement, the first indication
for many state leaders that the state’s juvenile justice
system was seriously troubled. Ever since, litigation (or
the threat of it) has been a key tool for augmenting the
policy arguments advanced by advocates and for adding

urgency to the reform impulses of leaders within the
juvenile courts and corrections system. For instance,
the first settlement in the Emily J. lawsuit, signed in
1997, required the state to invest in alternatives to
confinement – a step the state had already begun to
implement. The second and third settlements in the
case, signed in 2002 and 2005, also required concrete
steps and included substantial new funding to improve
risk assessment screening and treatment of youth with
mental health needs, and to fund new mental health
treatment programs.
Much credit for the deep and sustained impact of
litigation in Connecticut can be traced to a determined
litigator, Martha Stone, who played a central role first as
a legal director for the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union,
then as director of her own legal clinic, the Center for
Children’s Advocacy at the University of Connecticut
School of Law. In addition to documenting the system’s
deficiencies, Stone created a constant drumbeat for
continued reforms over 20 years, in many ways acting as
Connecticut’s conscience. Connecticut’s policymakers
and juvenile justice system leaders – the targets of the
lawsuits – also deserve credit for the positive results of
the litigation. These officials recognized that the system
had to change, and the threat of legal sanctions helped
them muster the political support to pass needed policy
reforms and increase funding for effective alternatives
to confinement.
The settlements were hailed as beneficial by both the
litigators and state leaders. For instance, then Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal (now a U.S. Senator) told
the Hartford Courant in 1997 that the first settlement
involved “excellent changes” that were already underway
in the state.
Christine Keller, until recently the state’s chief juvenile
judge, also lauds the positive impact the state has seen
from litigation. “No one wants to get sued,” Keller said.
“But sometimes the best way to get money from the
legislature for the things that need doing is to have a
lawsuit filed.”

The filing of the Emily J. lawsuit in 1993 marked the beginning
of the state’s juvenile justice reform movement


A Shared Vision and a Commitment to Change
Perhaps the single most important element in Connecticut’s recent successes has been a
mutually reinforcing dynamic that has emerged in the state’s juvenile justice reform efforts,
where each step forward serves as a springboard for the next.
This self-perpetuating virtuous cycle of reform is fueled by contributions from all the
advocates, system leaders and other stakeholders described in this chapter. But it is held
together by something else – a common vision that has emerged in Connecticut for
juvenile justice.
Repeatedly in recent years, Connecticut has convened high-level committees or task forces
of legislators, administrators, advocates and parents to examine top-priority juvenile justice
challenges, beginning with the juvenile justice strategic planning process that played such
a crucial role in forging statewide consensus for reform. Since then, the state has used this
approach in creating a planning and implementation committee to develop a proposal
for raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction, a Family With Service Needs (FWSN) Advisory
Board convened in 2006 to examine policies toward status offenders, and a coordinating
committee created in 2007 to monitor implementation of the Raise the Age legislation.
These workgroups have often involved the same people, or at least the same agencies, and
they have allowed key players from various disciplines and arms of government to get to
know each other, build trust, and develop a common understanding and shared vision of
the issues.
That unified vision, which guides virtually all of Connecticut’s juvenile justice reform
efforts, revolves around two key principles:
1. Adolescents are different than adults and deserve a separate, less punitive, and more
therapeutic justice system.
2. The juvenile justice system often succeeds best with youth when it does the least –
diverting as many children as possible from arrest and formal court involvement, keeping
them in school, and committing children to residential custody only as a last resort.
Two decades ago, neither of these principles was widely accepted in Connecticut outside
of the advocacy community. Ten years ago, support for these principles was growing, but
the state lacked programming capacity to apply them.
Today, the principles are embraced throughout Connecticut’s leadership – from the
judiciary, to law enforcement, to juvenile corrections and schools. And with remarkable
breadth and speed, that vision is becoming reality.




Strategies from Connecticut that Could Help Boost Success in Other Jurisdictions


Every state is different when it comes to juvenile justice: different challenges, different
economic circumstances, different system architecture, different leaders, different political
cultures. As a result, it’s impossible to draw a straight line from Connecticut’s experience to
reform efforts in any other state. Nonetheless, Connecticut’s success in re-engineering its
juvenile justice system offers useful insights to leaders in other states and jurisdictions seeking
to accomplish ambitious top-to-bottom reforms. The following pages detail seven key lessons
that have emerged from Connecticut’s experiences:

1. Seize the Moment
It’s an unfortunate adage, but nonetheless true: never
let a crisis go to waste. Time and again in Connecticut,
advocates and reformers have seized on alarming events
to mobilize and press for far-reaching reforms.
In the mid-1990s, Connecticut legislators used the
national panic over youth crime (and legitimate
concerns about rising youth violence) as an opportunity
to begin providing significant funding for alternatives
to detention and incarceration. In 1998, advocates
used the tragic suicide of a girl in the state’s Long
Lane training school to raise awareness of problematic
conditions and promote reforms, taking advantage of
in-depth investigations by the state’s Child Advocate
and Attorney General.
Since 2000, reformers have been even more opportunistic,
advancing the movement by responding quickly and
decisively to emerging problems, including the following:
From 2001 through 2004, advocates seized on a stream
of reports documenting problems with the state’s new
training school to push for more and better alternative
programming, as well as improved conditions within
the facility itself. Advocates also used the scandal over
improper contracting of the construction of the facility
– which ultimately led to the governor’s resignation and
imprisonment on corruption charges – to keep up the
pressure on state leaders and advance their reform goals.
Rather than ignoring or trying to explain away the
findings of a high-profile 2002 recidivism study showing
that its community-based alternatives programs were
ineffective, leaders within the Judicial Branch’s Court
Support Services Division embraced the findings,
terminated the programs and invested in a new
generation of evidence-based treatment models.
The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (Alliance)
launched its “Raise the Age” campaign in August 2005
– the month after a suicide of a mentally ill 17 year-old
imprisoned at the state’s Manson Youth Institution, an

adult prison. While the campaign had been in the works
for some time, the suicide received prominent coverage
in Connecticut newspapers and created substantial
momentum for legislation that would eventually return
16 and 17 year-olds to the juvenile system.

2. Lay the Groundwork
For Connecticut’s two most sweeping and important
juvenile justice reform laws – raising the age and
removing status offenders from juvenile courts and
detention centers – state leaders employed a two-stage
process. First, the legislature established a high-level
advisory group or task force to carefully examine the
challenges, alternative solutions, and associated costs.
Then, after key stakeholders and data analysts agreed
upon detailed proposals, the legislature debated the
measures and enacted legislation.
This two-step process proved invaluable for two reasons:
1. Getting the reforms right, and
2. Bringing leaders and factions together ahead of
time to make needed compromises and forge lasting
Both reforms required complex, wide-ranging, and
sometimes contentious changes in the state’s handling
of youth. The two-step process enabled reformers to
study and resolve the practical challenges associated
with reform, and also prepare for the political objections
these reforms were likely to encounter from opponents.
“The task force approach has worked,” says Christine
Rapillo, the state’s chief juvenile public defender. “It
brought all of the key players into the room, all working
on the assumption that this legislation is going to pass,
so we need to get it right.”
Moreover, in both cases, the legislature went even one
step further – keeping the advisory groups in place after
the laws were enacted to monitor implementation and
ensure success.


3. Make it Real

Call it the “Somebody Else’s Children” problem.
One of the biggest challenges in building support for
reforms in juvenile justice is getting affluent, successful,
mostly White policymakers to feel and understand the
importance of changing a system that primarily involves
low income youth and families of color. To meet this
challenge, legislators, members of the Alliance and other
advocates have been creative in their efforts to “make it
real” in their advocacy efforts. Facts and figures provide
essential justification for any reform campaign. But
ultimately, Connecticut reformers have learned that the
human factor is critical – touching policymakers’ hearts
and showing them what reform means in the lives of real
children and families.
To help policymakers make this human connection on
juvenile justice, Connecticut advocates have employed
several strategies:
The Alliance has worked closely with parent
organizations and other grass-roots groups to ensure
broad participation in rallies at the state Capitol, local
informational breakfast meetings with legislators, and
other events throughout the state. These occasions
have provided youth and families the opportunity
to introduce themselves to legislators, describe their
experiences in and with the system, and explain why
changes were needed.
One of the most compelling spokespeople in the Raise
the Age movement was Diana Gonzalez, the mother
of the 17 year-old boy, David Burgos, who committed
suicide while incarcerated as an adult in a Connecticut
state prison. Speaking before the state legislature, Ms.
Gonzalez issued a challenge that lingered in the ears and
minds of many legislators: “What’s it going to take for
us to make the change? Why do we wait for a tragedy?
Why does someone like my son have to die before we
make a change we know is right? It’s time for us to stop
talking about making this change and do it.”
The Alliance also brought in compelling experts. For
instance, in the midst of the debate over Raise the
Age, Dr. Abigail Baird, then a Dartmouth neuroscientist,
explained the differences between adolescent and
adult brains to an auditorium full of legislators. Baird
described one experiment during which adults and
adolescents were asked whether they would be willing
to jump into a pool filled with sharks: the adults


all decided “no” in a fraction of a second, but most
adolescents seriously considered diving in, and took
several seconds to decide. According to long-time
legislator Mike Lawlor, now the undersecretary of the
Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division at the state’s
Office of Policy and Management, many of his legislative
colleagues referred to the anecdote repeatedly in their
discussions about Raise the Age. In a way that statistics
never could, the vivid illustration brought home the
reality that adolescents are different than adults (prone
to risk-taking and impulsive behavior) and need to be
treated differently by the justice system.
State Representative Toni Walker, co-chair of the
Appropriations Committee and one of the legislature’s
leading advocates for juvenile justice reform, said she was
highly conscious of race as she tried to build legislative
support for the Raise the Age legislation in 2007. Walker,
who is African American, says that she selected only
White youth and families to testify at her hearings about
Raise the Age based on her belief that, subconsciously,
her colleagues (who are predominantly White) would be
better able to relate to White families’ plights.

4. Advocate, But Don’t Alienate
The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance and other
members of the state’s advocacy community have fought
hard for their goals, displaying dogged persistence,
but they have been careful not to employ antagonistic
tactics. Advocates have sought to build relationships
with those in power and win them over whenever
possible, rather than beating system officials over the
head and trying to make them look bad.
“It sounds a little bit Dale Carnegie,” says Alliance
Executive Director Abby Anderson, “but you catch more
flies with honey.”
When she gets a phone call from the media about some
new revelation or allegation of problems in the system,
Anderson says, “my first instinct is to call the agency and
talk with them about it” – not to issue an inflammatory
quote to the reporter. “If we need to be hard-nosed, we
will,” she added, “but we want to be collaborative first.”
Martha Stone of the Center for Children’s Advocacy
has also worked hard to build mutually respectful
relationships with system leaders – even when she’s
suing them over conditions of confinement or failing
to provide youth with appropriate and timely mental
health treatment services.

This ethos of collaboration has paid off in important
Rather than devolving into acrimony and mutual
recrimination, settlement talks for resolving the
Emily J. lawsuit over conditions and programming in
the state’s juvenile detention facilities served repeatedly
as a forum for brainstorming and collaborative planning
– and an opportunity to secure funding for programming
that might otherwise have been unavailable to the
Judicial Branch. With encouragement from the federal
judge supervising the case, litigator Martha Stone and
officials from the Court Support Services Division
(CSSD) and other state agencies negotiated a
detailed five-year reform plan in 1997 that both
sides supported. Then, when progress on improving
mental health treatment and alternative programming
failed to materialize, the two sides returned to the
bargaining table in 2002 and reached another mutually
advantageous agreement.
This collaborative spirit was also evident – and
beneficial – in the work of the two committees created
by Connecticut’s legislature in 2006 and tasked with
forging plans for raising the age and reforming the
state’s treatment and handling of status offenses.
Both groups included committed leaders with widely
diverging perspectives – judges, prosecutors, defenders,
staff from the Department of Children and Families
(DCF) and CSSD, as well as advocates. And both groups
were responsible for creating plans that required
potentially divisive policy choices on a range of intricate
and complex issues. Yet, rather than allow philosophical
or bureaucratic differences to derail progress, both
groups forged consensus on plans that adhered to
best practice research and required compromise from
all sides.
The 2004-2006 statewide juvenile justice strategic
planning process owed its success to a similar
commitment to collaboration. Initially suggested by the
Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, the process was
overseen jointly by CSSD and DCF, with funding from the
state legislature and assistance from the Child Welfare
League of America, and it involved a diverse group of
stakeholders from around the state.

5. Follow the Evidence
In Connecticut, system leaders have committed to track
and heed the evidence, even if it requires dramatic
changes. As detailed previously, Connecticut has
fundamentally re-oriented its juvenile programs and
services over the past decade to align its efforts with
new research about what works and to carefully track
results and adjust its approaches based on outcome
Ever since the adolescent substance abuse unit within
DCF established the state’s first Multisystemic Therapy
program in 1997, the state has made an enormous
investment in evidence-based treatment models
for troubled and delinquent youth. Today, programs
operated by DCF and CSSD together serve more than
5,000 youths per year. DCF has also incorporated
evidence-based best practices into a number of other
aspects of its work with juvenile offenders, including
assessment and treatment of youth in the training
school; trauma-informed treatment and other best
practices for court-involved girls; and adoption of
evidence-based aftercare service models for youth
returning home from residential placement.
The state’s Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan, completed
in 2006, created a number of concrete outcome goals
and adopted “Results-Based Accountability” to monitor
progress. This process continues to keep state leaders
focused on critical outcomes and forces them to
identify and address obstacles to success.
This focus on outcomes and commitment to maximizing
results has been especially evident in CSSD, which
scrapped its early ineffective programs and went back to
the drawing board, importing models with the strongest
evidence of effectiveness and replicating them widely
throughout the state. And when research made clear that
removing youth who had committed minor offenses from
their homes increased recidivism and wasted taxpayers’
money, CSSD created a new objective screening grid that
prohibits commitments of low-risk youth. CSSD also
instituted new practices requiring a supervisor’s approval
before probation officers can order a youth taken into
custody and began rejecting school-based referrals of
cases that do not involve serious law-breaking.


Today, more than
youths per year are served by
non-residential evidence-based programs operated by DCF and CSSD


National experts and leaders within the state cite
CSSD’s highly developed data capabilities as a rare and
invaluable asset.

serve older youth, the implications for courts and court
dockets, and other logistical details.

“Connecticut, and CSSD in particular, has a very, very
strong data system, and they’re willing to produce the
data we ask for,” reports Jason Szanyi, a staff attorney
at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) in
Washington, D.C. who has been working with local teams
in Bridgeport and Hartford to combat racial disparities.
Noting that CCLP has conducted similar work in 17
jurisdictions nationwide, Szanyi’s colleague Tiana Davis
adds that “ours is a data-driven process. Connecticut’s
capacity with data … [has made it] much better prepared
than a lot of jurisdictions that we’ve worked with.”
CSSD Executive Director William Carbone agrees
that data is vital. “How can you set goals for change
if you don’t understand the characteristics of your
population?” asks Carbone, noting that CSSD’s
management information system now allows managers
to track outcomes and trends in minute detail. “If you
have no data, how do you measure anything?”

6. Engage National Experts… and
Local Ones, Too


National Experts

Even with the impressive expertise and resources
available within the state, Connecticut leaders have not
hesitated to reach out for help from national experts
and resources.
Connecticut’s Raise the Age effort relied heavily on
the support of the Campaign for Youth Justice and its
president, Liz Ryan. At the height of the Raise the Age
debates in 2006 and 2007, Ryan was a frequent fixture in
the state, intimately involved in helping the Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Alliance plan and coordinate its
advocacy efforts. The National Juvenile Justice Network
in Washington, D.C., a coalition of state-based advocacy
groups such as the Alliance, also provided valuable support.
Prior to that, the planning committee that developed
the Raise the Age statute called upon three national
organizations – the Vera Institute of Justice, the
National Center for State Courts, and the criminal
justice consulting firm Hornby Zeller Associates to
help determine the proper mix of services required to


To facilitate the state’s juvenile justice strategic planning
process in 2004 to 2006, Connecticut secured the help
of experts from the Child Welfare League of America.
Connecticut has sought out top national experts on a
range of other issues as well, including child welfare and
juvenile justice expert Dr. Marty Beyer to examine the
needs of girls in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system;
Judges Steven Teske (Clayton County, GA) and Brian
Huff (Jefferson County, AL) to advise on reducing school
arrests; Joseph Cocozza (National Center for Mental
Health and Juvenile Justice) regarding mental health
issues; Mark Soler (Center for Children’s Law and Policy)
to support local projects to reduce racial disparities;
Ned Loughran (Council of Juvenile Correctional
Administrators) to improve care and prevent
maltreatment at the state training school; Dr. Thomas
Grisso (National Youth Screening and Assessment
Project) to help develop procedures for assessing the
mental health status of court-involved youth; and Shay
Bilchik (Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile
Justice Reform) to advise on integration of evidencebased programs and practices, among others.
Local Expertise

At the same time, state officials in Connecticut are
increasingly partnering with community leaders who can
provide on-the-ground feedback whether state programs
are working. In Bridgeport, the Regional Youth Adult
Social Action Partnership (RYASAP) has played a valuable
role since 2000 by bringing local leaders together and
focusing attention on gaps and problems that are not
well understood at the state level.
Since 2010, the 13 Local Interagency Service Teams (LISTs),
most operated by members of the Connecticut Youth
Services Association, have played a similarly valuable
role across the state. Conceived during the state’s
juvenile justice strategic planning process and based on
the RYASAP model, the LISTs provide valuable feedback
to the state on juvenile justice issues in the local
communities. They receive no funding, but have the ear
of state leaders, so the meetings are widely attended in
many communities, and they are generating substantial
new energy toward building awareness and crafting
creative solutions to lingering local youth problems.

Available data leave no doubt that public safety has improved as a
result of Connecticut’s juvenile justice reforms

Some examples:

7. Commit for the Long Haul

LISTs are spearheading pilot projects in Bridgeport and
Hartford to combat racial disparities in juvenile justice –
poring over data to identify decision points where
youth of color are being targeted disproportionately,
and working with local police, schools, and court officials
to brainstorm solutions. These pilots will be replicated in
2013 in Waterbury and New Haven with the assistance
of the Washington, DC-based Center for Children’s Law
and Policy.

Connecticut has learned that the challenges to reform
never end. There is always more to do. Creating and
maintaining a first-rate juvenile justice system requires a
continuing thirst for improvement and innovation.

LISTs in other jurisdictions have been active in new
efforts to reduce school suspensions and arrests –
helping to bring attention to the issue, engage officials
in local school districts and police departments, and,
in a growing number of jurisdictions, iron out formal
agreements between schools and police limiting the
circumstances under which students may be arrested
at school.
By convening community breakfasts and other events
to discuss local issues, the LISTs are helping to uncover
problems and concerns over how well state policies
and programs are working on the ground. In Danbury,
for instance, the local LIST got word that, due to an
anomaly in the state’s domestic violence statutes, two
brothers (ages 11 and 13) were threatened with domestic
battery charges for getting into a fight with each other.
Through the LIST, the case was brought to the attention
of advocates in Hartford, who successfully encouraged
legislators to tweak the law to ensure that children
could not be prosecuted in court for normal childhood
behavior. “In the past, there would be no forum for
someone to raise a concern like this,” according to Abby
Anderson of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance,
“or for anyone to hear them.”
In addition, Anderson notes that the LISTs have provided
the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance with an
additional avenue to keep supporters informed about
pending legislation and other developments – and
another way to identify individuals across the state
who might provide compelling testimony to the
legislature. For instance, Anderson credits the LISTS
with a valuable assist in winning legislative support in
2010 to fund Family Support Centers and comparable
programming to serve status offenders statewide.
Until then, these centers – designed to provide status
offenders with individual and family counseling,
mediation and other services – were active only in
four of the state’s largest cities.

Even with all that Connecticut’s juvenile justice
reformers have accomplished in recent years, their
efforts are not slowing down. If anything, they are
accelerating, with ambitious initiatives to address
racial disparities, school arrests, and the issues of
youth who are dually involved in the child welfare and
juvenile justice systems. The state is also ramping up
its investments in mentoring, restorative justice and
age-appropriate services for older youth, including job
training, college access and supervised housing.
The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance and Keep
the Promise Children’s Committee, a new statewide
coalition around children’s mental health, continue to
meet monthly and attract new members committed
to identifying and advocating policy and practice
changes that benefit youth and families. The Court
Support Services Division has rejuvenated its Center for
Best Practices to keep abreast of new research around
juvenile justice reform and, among other things, has
adopted and trained probation officers in a graduated
behavior response system that also rewards good
behavior. The Department of Children and Families has
integrated parole into its child welfare and behavioral
health systems, increasing services for youth in aftercare,
and it is planning soon to make major renovations to
improve the training school and open a new facility for
girls that will serve as a bridge between the one statefunded secure (locked) facility for girls and the state’s
network of more open group homes and residential
treatment centers. In addition, both state agencies have
committed to increasing family engagement.
At the federal level, Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators,
Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, have prioritized
juvenile justice reform and violence prevention.
“I’ve always believed that while standing up for kids
in the juvenile justice system isn’t always politically
popular, it’s incredibly important,” says Murphy.
“Connecticut should be proud of its unyielding
commitment to improving the system to keep our most
vulnerable youth safe and give them a second chance.
By taking bold steps that put kids and evidenced-based
policies first, Connecticut has become a nationwide
model for reform.


Written by Richard Mendel
Designed by Fog Design
Funded by The Tow Foundation
Photography by Joseph Rodriguez (pg. 4, 8, 44, 50) and Richard Freeda (pg. 23, 43)


1. 	 Interview with the author. March 14, 2012.
2. 	 “Emily J. v. Weicker amended class action complaint,”
3:93CV1944 (D. Conn., Oct. 25, 1993).
3. 	 E. Hartstone and D. Richetelli, “An Assessment of
Minority Overrepresentation in Connecticut’s Juvenile
Justice System,” Connecticut Office of Policy and
Management, May 1, 1995,

29. 	Saul Spigel, “State Obligations Under Emily J. Decision:
OLR Research Report,” Office of Legislative Research,
Connecticut State Legislature, January 8, 2007.
30. 	State of Connecticut Child Fatality Review Board,
“Investigation into the Death of Tabatha B,” 6.
31. 	 State of Connecticut Child Fatality Review Board,
“Investigation into the Death of Tabatha B,” 6.
32. “Long Lane Woes Wear Thin,” Hartford Courant,
November 9, 1998.

4. “Facts on Long Lane School,” Hartford Courant,
November 29, 1998.

33. “Report on the Reform Initiative at the Connecticut
Juvenile Training School,” Justice Education Center,
March 2005.

5. 	 Eleanor Lyon, Juvenile Offender Profile Study. Hartford,
CT: Center, 1996.

34. 	Edmund H., Mahoney, “Ellef, Tomasso Start Prison
Terms,” Hartford Courant, June 29, 2006.

6. 	 State of Connecticut Child Fatality Review Board,
“Investigation into the Death of Tabatha B.,” November
30, 1998,

35. 	Report of the Child Advocate and the Attorney
General Regarding Connecticut Juvenile Training
School, Office of the Child Advocate, September 19,

7. 	 The Social State of Connecticut 2005, Institute for
Innovation in Social Policy; and Colin Poitras, “The
Last Stop For Young Criminals - Long Lane School Is
Understaffed, Under Strain.” Hartford Courant, May 07,

36. 	Colin Poitras, “Giving a Voice to Kids in Detention,”
Hartford Courant, December 30, 2001; and Colin
Poitras, “State Goes Against Report,” Hartford Courant,
December 31, 2001.

8. 	 Lyon, Juvenile Offender Profile Offender Study, 5.

37. 	 Colin Poitras, “Giving a Voice to Kids in Detention”, 36.

9. 	 State of Connecticut Child Fatality Review Board,
“Investigation into the Death of Tabatha B,” 6.

38. 	Who Are the Children in the Juvenile Justice System?
A Snapshot of the Bridgeport Juvenile Court, Regional
Youth Adult Social Action Compact (RYASAP), 2002.

10. “Facts On Long Lane School,” Hartford Courant,
November 29, 1998; and Colin Poitras, “A Difficult
Mission: Helping Young Offenders Under Terrible
Conditions,” Hartford Courant, November 29, 1998.

39. 	Report of the Child Advocate and the Attorney
General Regarding Connecticut Juvenile Training
School, Office of the Child Advocate, September 19,

11. 	 Facts On Long Lane School.

40. 	Report of the Child Advocate and the Attorney
General, 35.

12. “Red Flags at Long Lane,” Hartford Courant, October
12, 1998.
13. 	 Poitras, “The Last Stop for Young Criminals,” 7.
14. 	 Poitras, “The Last Stop for Young Criminals,” 7.
15. 	 R. DeComo, S. Tunis, B. Krisberg & N. Herrera, Juveniles
Taken Into Custody Research Program: FY1992Annual
Report (Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, 1993), cited in M. Jones &
B. Krisberg, Images and Reality: Juvenile Crime, Youth
Violence, and Public Policy (San Francisco, CA: National
Council on Crime and Delinquency, 1994).
16. 	Dale Parent, et al, “Conditions of Confinement:
Juvenile Detention and Corrections Facilities. Research
Summary,” Abt Associates, February 1, 1994.
17. 	 Connecticut Department of Public Safety, “Crime in
Connecticut: 1992 Annual Report,” Uniform Crime
Reports, 1992,
ucr.aspx; Connecticut Department of Public Safety,
“Crime in Connecticut: 1993 Annual Report,” Uniform
Crime Reports, 1993,
18. 	Data provided via email by Court Support Services
Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch, July 2012.
19. 	 Data provided via email by Court Support Services
Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch, July 2012.
20. 	Crutchfield, Kania, & Kramer, Do More than Give: The
Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World, JosseyBass, 2011.
21. 	 Lyon, Juvenile Offender Profile Offender Study.
22. 	Hartstone and Richetelli, An Assessment of Minority
Overrepresentation, 3.
23. 	E. Hartstone and D. Richetelli, An Assessment of
Minority Overrepresentation, 3.
24. 	Interview with the author, March 15, 2012.
25. 	Ali Weiner, “Welcome to Detention,” The New Journal,
September 2010, http://www.thenewjournalatyale.
26. 	Interview with the author, March 13, 2012.
27. 	Interview with the author, March 15, 2012.
28. 	“Juvenile Justice Reorganization Plan,” Juvenile Justice
Policy Group - Connecticut Office of Policy and
Management, February 1, 1996.

41. 	 Colin Poitras, “Kids Under Lock and Key: Advocates
Push Two Bills for Juveniles,” Hartford Courant, April 13,
42. 	Colin Poitras, “Giving a Voice to Kids in Detention,”
Hartford Courant, December 30, 2001.
43. 	Colin Poitras, “Judge: Children’s Rights Violated,”
Hartford Courant, February 26, 2002.
44. 	Report of the Child Advocate and the Attorney
General, 35.
45. 	 Report of the Child Advocate and the Attorney
General, 35.
46. 	Colin Poitras, “Report Indicts Juvenile Center: DCF
Accused of Lack of Leadership, Vision in Running Site,”
Harford Courant, September 20, 2002.
47. 	Colin Poitras,“Report: Girls Unsafe at Long Lane –
Immediate Action Demanded After Inquiry Finds
Suicidal Youths Unwatched, Others Illegally Secluded
or Restrained,” Harford Courant, October 1, 2002.
48. “A Chronology of Failure: A Brief History of the
Connecticut Juvenile Training School,” Hartford
Courant, August 2, 2005.
49. 	Juvenile Justice Reorganization Plan, 28.
50. 	Victoria Dougherty, Malia Sieve, & Terri Thomalla,
“State of Connecticut Juvenile Justice Programs:
Recidivism Outcome Evaluation,” Connecticut Policy
and Economic Council, July 2002.
51. 	 Dougherty, Sieve, & Thomalla, “State of Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Programs: Recidivism Outcome
Evaluation,” 2002.
52. 	Dougherty, Sieve, & Thomalla, “State of Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Programs: Recidivism Outcome
Evaluation,” 50

56. 	The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan:
Building Toward a Better Future, August 2006.
57. 	The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan:
Building Toward a Better Future, August 2006.
58. 	Canny, Priscilla F. & Cooke, Michelle B., “The State of
Connecticut’s Youth 2003”, Connecticut Voices for
Children, August 17, 2003.
59. 	The Social State of Connecticut 2005, 7.
60. 	Data provided via email by Court Support Services
Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch, July 2012.
61. 	Justice Research Center, FWSN Process and Outcome
Evaluation, 2010,
62. 	A Reassessment of Minority Overrepresentation
in Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice System, Spectrum
Associates, June 5, 2001.
63. 	A Reassessment of Minority Overrepresentation, 62.
64. 	Colin Poitras, “Kids Under Lock and Key,” 2003, 41.
65. 	Avi Salzman, “Redefining Juvenile Criminals,” New York
Times, April 2, 2006.
66. “	Juvenile Justice Implementation Team Report”,
Connecticut Judicial Branch, February 2004.
67. 	Telephone interview with the author, May 9, 2012.
68. 	Data provided by Connecticut Judicial Branch, Court
Support Services Division, September 2012. The 8,325
figure includes 6,981 youth charged with delinquent
offenses and 1,344 youth referred to court on status
offenses (Family With Service Needs).
69. 	Data provided via email by Karl Alston, Connecticut
Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division,
September 2012.
70. “	Review of Judicial Branch Activities in ‘Raise the Age,”
Court Support Services Division, Connecticut Judicial
Branch, June 28, 2012,
71. 	 Telephone interview with the author, December 2012.
72. 	Hector Glynn, “Overview of Connecticut’s Juvenile
Justice System,” 2005; Office of Policy and
Management, Facts and Figures on Connecticut’s
Juvenile Justice System,
cwp/view.asp?a=2974&q=481230; and “Movement of
Juvenile Cases 1984-85 to 2010-11, Connecticut Judicial
73. 	Hector Glynn, “Overview of Connecticut’s Juvenile
Justice System,” Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance
74. 	Families With Service Needs in Connecticut,
Powerpoint presentation, State of Connecticut
Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division,
August 29, 2006,
75. 	Justice Research Center, FWSN Process and Outcome
Evaluation, 2010,
Outcome%20Evaluation%20Report.pdf; and Office
of Policy and Management, Facts and Figures on
Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice System, http://www., http://
76. 	Taby, Ali, “Next Steps in Juvenile Justice Reform,”
Connecticut Voices for Children, March 2008.

53. “	Close to Home: A Report on Behavioral Health
Services for Children in Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice
System,” Connecticut Center for Effective Practice,
February 2003.

77. “	Safe and Sound: A New Approach to Juvenile Justice
and Its Effect on Public Spending and Safety in
Connecticut,” Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance,
December 2010.

54. 	Elizabeth, Lyon & Robin, Spath, “Court Involved Girls
in Connecticut”, University of Connecticut School of
Social Work, March 2002; and Beyer, Marty, “A System
of Services for Girls in Connecticut”, December 15,

78. 	Justice Research Center, “FWSN Process and Outcome
Evaluation,” 2010; Office of Policy and Management,
Facts and Figures on Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice
System, 2011.

55. “	Close to Home,” 53.

79. 	FWSN Process and Outcome Evaluation,” 78
80. FWSN Process and Outcome Evaluation,” 78


81. 	Data from Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance
Powerpoint presentation, “Raise the Age: Lessons from
the First Two Years,”
82. 	Data from Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance
Powerpoint presentation, “Raise the Age: Lessons from
the First Two Years, 81.”
83. 	Data provided via email by the Court Support Services
Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch, July 2012.
84. 	The Social State of Connecticut, 2005, 7.
85. 	Safe and Sound, 77.
86. 	DCF presentation to Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and
Operations Coordinating Committee, Nov. 16, 2011.
DCF_Presentation_11-16-11.pdf (Data as of Sept. 2011.)
87. 	Both 2007 and 2012 figures from Connecticut
Department of Correction website, statistics
page --

108. 	Safety data provided via email by Antonio Donis,
Department of Children and Family Services,
December 2012.

131. 	 Mark A., Cohen and Alex R., Piquero, “New Evidence
on the Monetary Value of Saving a High Risk Youth,”
Journal of Quantitative Criminology, vol. 25, 2009.

109. 	Telephone interview with DCF leadership team,
December 2012.

132. 	Data Presentation to the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy
and Operations Coordinating Council, 2011.

110. 	Annemarie Hillman, Alexandra Dufresne, and Jamey
Bell, “Testimony Opposing S.B. 197: An Act Concerning
School Suspension,” March 10, 2010, http://www.
suspension.pdf; Robert Frahm and Matthew Kauffman,
“A Punishing School Debate: Bill Would Put Limits on
Sending Kids Home,” Hartford Courant, May 2, 2007.

133. 	Mendel, No Place for Kids, 88.

89. 	Data Presentation to the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy
and Operations Coordinating Council, Connecticut
Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division,
October 25, 2011.

112. “A Study of Disproportionate Minority Contact in
Juvenile Arrests in Three Connecticut Municipalities,”
Greater Bridgeport Juvenile Justice Task Force, 2006.

90. 	Information provided via email by Ms. Catherine FoleyGeib, Connecticut Judidial Branch, Court Support
Services Division, June 2012.

113. “Hard Lessons: School Resource Officer Programs and
School-based Arrests in Three Connecticut Towns,”
American Civil Liberties Union and Connecticut Civil
Liberties Union, November 2008.

93. 	Safe and Sound, 77.
94. 	Length of stay data provided by Mr. Antonio Donis,
Department of Children and Families, December 2012.
95. 	Data provided via email by Mr. Brian Hill, Connecticut
Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division, July
96. 	Telephone interview with DCF leadership team,
December 2012.
97. 	Interview with the author. March 14, 2012.
98. 	 Lyon and Spath, “Court Involved Girls in Connecticut,”
99. 	 Liz Watson and Peter Edelman, “Improving the Juvenile
Justice System for Girls: Lessons from the States,”
Georgetown Center on Poverty - Inequality and Public
Policy, October 2012,
100. Information about girls programming comes from
Watson and Edelman, “Improving the Juvenile Justice
System for Girls: Lessons from the States,” 2012;
and telephone interview with DCF leadership team,
December 2012.
101. “Statewide Juvenile Detention Statistics Fiscal Years
2006-2012,” Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support
Services Division,
102. 	The number of girls committed to custody statewide,
which ranged from 54-59 per year from 2004 through
2007, has been less than 40 in each of the past three
years (2010 through 2012). Information provided by Mr.
Antonio Donis, Department of Children and Family
Services, December 2012.
103.	Colin Poitras, “Juvenile Facility’s Troubles Escalate,”
Hartford Courant, May 18, 2004.
104.“Supplemental Report of the Child Advocate and
the Attorney General Regarding the Connecticut
Juvenile Training School,” Office of the Child Advocate,
February 19, 2003,
105. 	A Chronology of Failure, 48.

129. 	Safe and Sound, 77.

107. “A Chronology of Failure,” Hartford Courant, 48; and
Report on the Reform Initiative at the Connecticut
Juvenile Training School, 33.

111. 	 Taby Ali and Alexandra Dufresne, “Missing Out:
Suspending Children from Connecticut Schools,”
Connecticut Voices for Children, August 2008,

92. “	Data Presentation to the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy
and Operations Coordinating Council,” Connecticut
Judicial Branch 87; Safe and Sound, 77.

128. 	Safe and Sound, 77.

130. 	Stephanie Ryon, Early Bontrager, Kristin Winokur, and
Greg Hand, “Juvenile Probation and Residential Services
Evaluation,” Justice Research Center for the Court
Support Services Division - Connecticut Judicial Branch,
July 2011.

88. 	Richard Mendel, “No Place for Kids: The Case for
Reducing Juvenile Incarceration,” Annie E. Casey
Foundation, 2011.

91. 	Barry Holman and Jason Ziedenberg, “The Dangers
of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in
Detention and Other Facilities”, Justice Policy Institute,


106. 	John Kelly, “Weekly Notes: Conn. JJ System Improves as
Age-Change Nears; Curfew Laws Beget Curfew Laws;
Luzerne Judges Scandal Update; and more,” Youth
Today, June 12, 2009,

114. “Keep Kids In School: Improving School Discipline,”
Connecticut Appleseed, February 2011.
115. “School/Police Grant Awards 2011 and 2011/12,”
Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee - Office of Policy
and Management, June 2011

134. 	Presentation to the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and
Operations Coordinating Council, State of Connecticut
Department of Corrections, December 21, 2011.
135. 	Interview with the author, May 24, 2012.
136. 	Interview with the author, April 26, 2012.
137. 	Interview with the author, April 26, 2012.
138. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
139. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
140. 	Telephone interview with the author, November 5,
141. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
142. 	Dougherty, Sieve, and Thomalla, “State of Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Programs,” 51.
143. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
144. 	Carbone, William H., “CSSD Introduces New MST
Service Into the Juvenile Network,” Connecticut
Juvenile Justice Alliance Newsletter, (1, 2003).
145. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
146. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.

116. “Connecticut Voices for Children’s analysis of
Manchester school discipline data,” Manchester
Agencies and Police and Schools (MAPS) Collaborative,
August 2012.

147. 	Interview with the author, May 24, 2012.

117. 	 Marie O’Connell, Connecticut’s School Based Diversion
Initiative: Evaluation Report, “Yale Program for
Recovery and Community Health,” 2011.

150.“The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan:
Building Toward a Better Future,” Child Welfare League
of America, August 2006,

118. 	Interview with the author. March 14, 2012.
119. “School-Based Arrests Distribution,” Connecticut
Judicial Branch, June 15, 2012.
120. 	Connecticut State Education Resource Center, Positive
Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Data and
Report Summary, December 2011.
121. “A Second Reassessment of Disproportionate Minority
Contact in Connecticut’s Juvenile Justice System,”
Spectrum Associates, May 15, 2009.
122. “Juvenile Justice and Youth Development,”
Office of Policy and Management – State
of Connecticut,
123. “Effective Police Interactions With Youth: Training
Evaluation,” Center for Applied Research in Human
Development - University of Connecticut, March 2008,

148. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
149. 	Interview with the author, March 12, 2012.

151. 	Anne McIntyre-Lahner, Connecticut Department of
Children and Families, telephone interview with the
author, November 15, 2012.
152. 	Interview with the author, November 2012.
153. 	Telephone interview with the author, November 15,
154. 	FY 2012 budget expenditures provided via email by
Rachel Welch and Phoenix Ronan, Connecticut General
Assembly Office of Fiscal Analysis, September 2012.
155. 	Telephone interview with the author, September 2012.
156. 	Daly, Matthew, “Juvenile Jails to Improve With Suit
Settlement,” Hartford Courant, February 19, 1997.
157. 	Telephone interview with the author, May 22, 2012.
158. 	Interview with the author, March 12, 2012.

124. 	Keep Kids In School: Improving School Discipline, 114.

159. 	This was the title of a widely praised book by John
Hubner and Jill Wolfson, Somebody Else’s Children: The
Courts, the Kids, and the Struggle to Save America’s
Troubled Families, Crown Publishing Co., 1997.

125. 	Based on data from presentations prepared by the
Bridgeport DMC Subcommittee (July 23, 2012), and the
Hartford DMC Subcommittee (July 24, 2012).

160. 	Ms. Diana Gonzalez, “Testimony in support of H.B.
5782,” March 13, 2006,

126.“Crime in Connecticut reports (2010, 2009, 2006, and
2002),” Connecticut Division of State Police, http://

161. 	Interview with the author, March 15, 2012.

127. 	Budget figures for Fiscal Year 2002 come from Office
of Fiscal Analysis, Connecticut General Assembly,
Appropriations Committee Budget 2004-05,
05.pdf; and budget figures for Fiscal Year 2012 come
from via email from Rachel Welch and Phoenix
Ronan, Connecticut General Assembly Office of Fiscal
Analysis, September 2012.

162. 	Telephone interview with the author, March 20. 2012.
163. 	Telephone interview with the author, March 20. 2012.
164. 	Interview with the author, March 14, 2012.
165. 	Interview with the author, March 15, 2012.
166. 	Written statement provided to the Tow Foundation,
January 2013.

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