The child advocate’s office found that incarcerated youths, particularly boys who have complex needs and are imprisoned in the adult correctional system, are the most likely to lose meaningful access to education, rehabilitative services and visits with family, and are more likely to to be placed in isolation. In some cases, the report said, the conditions for youth may violate state and federal law.
The report details the individual cases of incarcerated youth, including one boy who is confined for 23.5 hours a day with no access to education or adequate mental health services, and another who was restrained face-down and sprayed with a chemical agent despite his asthma diagnosis.
The year-long investigation found that minority youth “remain disproportionately confined and incarcerated in Connecticut’s state-run facilities” and that “the deeper youth go into the correctional system, the less likely they are to receive any developmentally appropriate programming — supports necessary to help youth change their behavior and successfully discharge back to their communities without committing new offenses.”
Mickey Kramer, the associate child advocate, said Tuesday that the report’s findings prove that Connecticut needs a “massive overhaul” in the way it both evaluates and meets the needs of incarcerated youth.
“Essentially, we believe there is a moral imperative to address the current circumstances …,” Kramer continued. “When we believe and know that certain things that we do to kids are harmful, we’ve got to stop doing those things.”
The report examined the state’s juvenile detention centers in Bridgeport and Hartford, which are operated by the Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division; the Manson Youth Institution for boys and the York Correctional Institution for girls, which are Department of Corrections’ prisons that house minors; and the former Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS), a locked facility for boys that was operated by the state Department of Children and Families until it closed in April 2018. For the full report, click here.
The lack of uniform standards across these facilities can place youth and facility staff at risk of harm, the report says, and may result in some cases “in violations of state and federal law and deeply concerning conditions of confinement, particularly for minors in the adult prison system.”
By Kathleen Megan, CTMirror.org