Connecticut lawmakers and advocates call for solutions to juvenile crime

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HARTFORD, Connecticut – Democrats and Republicans speak out on how to address the current issue of deterring youth crime, especially burglaries and auto theft.

At a press conference today, leaders of the Connecticut Justice Alliance (CTJA), Tow Youth Justice Institute (TYJI) and ACLU-CT, along with other state leaders and activists , called on lawmakers to deliver data-driven solutions.

Lawyers said that since 1991 there has been a sharp decrease in burglaries, thefts and vandalism among minors in the state. State Democrats said that although there had been a slight increase in crime in 2020, it was still average. Between 1991 and 2019, the state saw a 77% drop in auto theft, compared to a 43% drop nationwide, TYJI said.

At the press conference, advocates said long-term solutions must come through investments in communities, young people and families before locking up minors.

“It’s clear from the data that the increase in auto theft in 2020 correlates with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Iliana Pujols, director of policy at the Connecticut Justice Alliance. “The point is, the same juvenile justice reforms that people claim to be contributing to the increase in motor vehicle theft in 2020 were in place in 2019 when Connecticut had the lowest motor vehicle theft rate. never recorded. ”

Republican State Senate Leader Kevin Kelly said in a statement:

“I agree we absolutely need to broaden the conversations to tackle the root causes of the rise in crime. A safer Connecticut starts with a stronger Connecticut. It starts with an economy that can support jobs, create money. hope and paving the way for success for young people It starts with proactive policing, appropriate consequences for repeat offenders, and ensuring our justice system has the tools to successfully rehabilitate. ”

Kelly called on Democratic leaders in Connecticut cities like New Haven and Hartford not to do more to help alleviate crime.

“There are victims who have been ignored for too long and who have lived in our cities, areas controlled by Democrats for decades. It is wrong that it is only now that the violence has overtaken our cities that those responsible. Democrats face their failures, ”Kelly said.

But Democrats say putting more teens into the justice system without an actual plan of action to meet their needs is “irresponsible.”

“The issue of auto theft from minors demands our attention. We need to ensure that we are asking the right root cause questions so that we can develop and implement the right answers. Anything less is political and dangerous.” said State Senator Gary. Winfield (D-New Haven).

State Representative Toni Walker (D-District 93) believes that policies make a difference.

“As an educator and legislator, I have seen first-hand how fair policies, practices and funding can make a difference in the lives of all young people in Connecticut. We all need to dispel the lies and all start telling the truth about what is available under the law to local authorities. ”

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