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State Rep. Devlin, House Republicans Unveil Juvenile Justice Reforms

Posted on August 20, 2021


HARTFORD — State Rep. Laura Devlin (R-134) her their colleagues last week in backing a list of specific policies they’ve identified to reform the state’s juvenile justice laws and seek accountability for the victims of Connecticut’s summer juvenile crime wave.

During a news conference on the North Steps of the Capitol in Hartford, House Republicans listed over a dozen specific statutory and policy changes they would make, centered around three core principles: prevention, accountability, and rehabilitation.

These proposed reforms include:

  • Allowing law enforcement access to all juvenile records to ensure an officer has complete information to use in seeking a post-arrest detention order;
  • Expediting arraignment for felonies, a sex assault, offense involving use of a firearm, and giving courts the ability to require DCF investigations for juveniles charged in those cases;
  • Implementing victim impact panels in juvenile delinquency hearings;
  • Requiring Family Support Services intervention at juvenile court arraignments;
  • Expanding circumstances in which a matter is automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket, including instances involving a loss of life or use of a firearm;
  • Electronic monitoring for juveniles arrested while awaiting trial on previous offenses;
  • Creating a new offense of “larceny of a motor vehicle” not tied to the value of the vehicle.

“People in our community are frustrated and frightened. That’s why we remain resolute in finding concrete bi-partisan solutions to protect state residents. Although we are calling for accountability, it’s not about locking people up and throwing away the key. We are also calling for diversionary and post-arrest counseling and programming, including family support services in order to give troubled juveniles the assistance they need,” said Rep. Devlin, Deputy Leader.

Juvenile crime was a focus for House Republicans headed into the 2021 legislative session. The session, however, ended without substantial progress in reforming juvenile justice laws.

Amid a turbulent period of heightened juvenile criminal activity across the state — including in Trumbull, where car thefts doubled in one year alone — House Republicans petitioned for a special legislative session.

On Sunday August 15th, Trumbull police arrested three juveniles after residents reported youths going through their cars.

The Republican proposals can be found at Devlin is asking every member of the General Assembly to sign their petition, initiate a special session and begin debate on these proposals immediately.