Contact: Adam Joseph
July 2, 2012
NEW HAVEN—Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, Senator Toni N. Harp and Representative Toni Walker today welcomed Connecticut’s move to join 38 other states in providing 17-year-olds convicted of non-felony crimes with a chance to utilize a broad array of interventions sparing them of treatment as adults under state’s adult court system and its more severe penalties.
“The fact of the matter is, by providing mental health and other community based interventions we’re giving these teens some of the help they need, reducing the likelihood of recidivism and offering a second chance at being a productive member of society,” said Senator Looney (D-New Haven). “This is smart policy that treats children like children.”
The new law affecting 17-year-olds goes into effect exactly two years after the state began treating 16-year-olds who had committed non-felony offenses as juveniles.
“It’s clear to me that 16 and 17-year old children simply aren’t far enough along in the maturing process to be treated as adult offenders who are presumably better able to calculate—and ignore—the potential consequences of anti-social and criminal behavior, so I have long held it’s more humane to treat these children than to harshly punish them.” Senator Harp (D-New Haven) said. “It’s gratifying to have this law become effective and know we’re doing something positive in Connecticut to break the cycle of violence and dissuade these young people from giving up on themselves too soon.”
Teenagers charged with felonies such as aggravated assault, homicide, murder, rape, and robbery will continue to be treated as adults under Connecticut statute.
“I am elated that we have gotten to this point," said Representative Walker (D-New Haven). "When we started this journey to reform the way our judicial system treats children, people were skeptical—not because they thought it was bad policy but because they thought that costs would be prohibitive. Thanks to the work of advocates and the administration the state has realized a savings not just in court cost but through investing in the longevity of making these children part of our society rather than the judicial system.”
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Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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