Praise for Connecticut's Juvenile Offender Bill

The New York Times today praises the bill passed this week by the Connecticut Senate that keeps juvenile offenders in juvenile rather than adult court.

The issue:

Connecticut is one of only three states — along with New York and North Carolina — that automatically try 16-year-olds as adults. Embarrassed by that fact, last year state lawmakers in Connecticut established a commission that was instructed to bring the state’s correction laws into line with humane and sensible practices.

The Times:

This bill is the welcome result. It is also backed by a substantial body of research showing that children who are processed through adult courts and who do time in adult jails fare worse in life — and commit much more violent crime — than children handled in juvenile courts. Once saddled with adult convictions, these young offenders are typically barred from all kinds of jobs and confined to the very margins of society.

The new legislation, which calls for juveniles to be closely supervised and provided with extensive mental health, educational and re-entry services, will cost Connecticut more money initially. But the law would more than pay for itself by cutting down on recidivism and by giving troubled young people a real chance to become productive, law-abiding adults.

40 states allow for some juveniles to be charged and sentenced as adults. Some are revising the policy. All of them should.

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  • Display: Sort:
    i've always been fascinated (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Thu May 24, 2007 at 08:36:47 AM EST
    by the hypocrisy of the criminal justice system, with regards to its treatment of juvenile offenders; they can't vote, can't enlist in the military, can't legally drink alcohol, can't sign a binding contract, can't buy stock, all because they're deemed to not have the capacity to fully understand what they're getting into.

    and yet, when they do something inordinately stupid, the same legislators who pass laws prohibiting them from doing all the aforementioned, want to have them treated as adults.

    and they wonder why the public thinks so little of them.