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WSHU's ongoing coverage of issues surrounding Connecticut's Department of Children and Families.

CJJA Calls For CJTS, Pueblo Facilities To Close

Connecticut Juvenile Training School
Connecticut Department of Children and Families

An advocacy group said the State of Connecticut should close the two juvenile detention facilities run directly by the Department of Children and Families- the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS) for boys and the Pueblo Unit for girls. Recent reports about conditions at the two facilities found that young people in each of them were subjected to repeated and unlawful restraint and isolation.

In a report released on Tuesday, The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance called the detention facilities prisons. The report says the CJTS should be shut down within two years—and the smaller Pueblo facility should be shut down much sooner.

Robert Francis, Chairperson of the Alliance, said the facilities are not environments where boys and girls with mental health issues can get the support services they need.

“We still may need locked facilities for a certain group of young people who have committed pretty serious offenses for a period of time, but we’re talking about smaller facilities, closer to home, with many more services available to them,” he said.

Francis said about 70 percent of the young people in the facilities have a diagnosed mental health issue.

The Connecticut Juvenile Justice alliance found that in other states, locking up juveniles has had no effect on lowering recidivism, and that other states have benefited from closing juvenile prisons.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.
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