HARTFORD — State Reps Dave Rutigliano (R-123), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Ben McGorty (R-122) joined 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.
“It seems as if I receive a call or email almost every day asking me to do something to stop these break-ins. Trumbull residents are being terrorized by these thieves on a nightly basis and some worry that an attempted car theft could lead to innocent deaths, like the incidents in New Britain or Glastonbury,” said Rep. Rutigliano, Senior House Whip. “That is why I am joining my colleagues and fellow residents in demanding immediate change with to the juvenile justice system with our plan.”
“House Republicans are offering solutions that get to the heart of this issue and offer real accountability to everyone in the juvenile justice process. For those who have so far only offered divisive rhetoric but were quick to walk away from the negotiating table when solutions were required — now is your chance,” said Rep. McGorty, who serves as an Assistant Republican Leader in the House. “This critical public safety issue demands the immediate and full attention of every elected member of the General Assembly, and it can’t wait for the end of this summer. Our communities can’t wait that long.”
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 www.stopcarthefts.com. The Trumbull Republicans are asking every member of the General Assembly to sign their petition, initiate a special session and begin debate on these proposals immediately.