The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance works to reduce the number of children and youth entering the juvenile and criminal justice system, and advocate a safe, effective, and fair system for those involved.
The Alliance accomplishes its mission by serving as a catalyst for systems reform. It employs the following strategies in pursuit of its mission:
(C) Families, schools, communities and government work together to meet the social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs of all children and youth.
The Alliance works as a broad coalition, rooted in the philosophy of collaboration and partnership. Critical to the success of the Alliance's work is statewide reform through both collective as well as individual efforts. It finds mutually beneficial ways to work with statewide agencies, professional organizations, local and state leaders, among others. The most pressing current needs are to:
We are proud to lead the Steering Committee of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, and look forward to building on the impressive success of the past decade of reform.
The Alliance systematically collects, synthesizes
and disseminates new research and other critical information related to juvenile justice reform. Most recently the Alliance
published a white paper entitled 'Safe and Sound' which analyzes a decade
of data to demonstrate how juvenile justice reform in the state was accompanied
by a decrease in juvenile crime, violent crime and recidivism. By holding youth
accountable through community based programs and using expensive alternatives,
such as incarceration, sparingly, reforms have saved the state money as well.
The Alliance gives presentations statewide, most recently to (and at) the State
Legislature, Coalition of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, and at local colleges. The Alliance was a key contributor to the CPTV documentary ‘From Education to Incarceration.'
Every reform that moves the system more towards prevention, early intervention and community-based treatment is a step in the right direction. Every time a child in the system is seen as a whole child and not simply as a "delinquent" to be "fixed' is a step in the right direction.
By July 2012, success means 17 year olds being treated in the juvenile rather than adult system. Success also means reduction in school-based arrests and a greater understanding of how schools, courts and police can work together toward this shared goal. It means better, higher quality reporting on the quantity and kind of school-based arrests that happen in each school district. The Alliance also is working on policy and practice changes to reduce the impact of racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. Data shows that minority youth in Connecticut are treated more harshly because of the color of their skin. Short term success means this continues to change.
The Alliance is at all the major statewide policy tables related to juvenile justice system reform including the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and Oversight Coordinating Council, the Families With Service Needs Advisory Board, the Joint Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan Executive Implementation Team (and subcommittees) and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (and subcommittees). These tables all allow the Alliance to play a role in monitoring the current system while pushing for implementation of further reforms. In addition, many Steering Committee members focus on direct services to youth and families, and alert us if any issues or challenges arise with implementation. The LISTs will continue to serve a similar role in monitoring and identifying unmet needs. This information helps the Alliance understand if and how policy changes filter to the ground level, and in turn, the Alliance then brings this information back to the policy tables to discuss further education and/or reforms to address the problems.
The Alliance serves as the bridge between local and state efforts; community organizing is central to achieving its mission. One recent example is a two-year-long series of community forums focused on the intersections between education and juvenile justice. With LISTs and other local partners as sponsors and key partners, forums bring together experts and stakeholders to hear about and discuss:
Starting July 2012, success means 16 and 17 year-olds are treated in the juvenile rather than adult system. Success also means reduction in school-based arrests and a greater understanding of how schools, courts and police can work together toward this shared goal. It means better, higher quality reporting on the quantity and kind of school-based arrests that happen in each school district. The Alliance also is working on policy and practice changes to reduce the impact of racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. Data shows that minority youth in Connecticut are treated more harshly because of the color of their skin. Short term success means this continues to change.
Long-term success will be achieved when Connecticut's juvenile justice system will:
• Be of the highest possible quality and will not substitute for quality children’s mental health and education.
• Treat all children and families equally, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
• Be strengths-based, rehabilitative and community-based.
• Be child and family centered
• Track and regularly report its outcomes
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The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance is special entity whereby its Steering Committee is responsible directly to the RYASAP Board of Directors and the Executive Director of CTJJA is responsible to the CTJJA Steering Committee, whose Co-Chairperson is the Executive Director of RYASAP.
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