© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut Justice Alliance wants state to find the root cause of youth criminalization

Members of the Alliance and ACLU-CT spoke about their initiative, #InvestInMeCT, that launched two years ago.
Jerrod Ferrari
Connecticut Justice Alliance
Members of the Alliance and ACLU-CT spoke about their initiative, #InvestInMeCT, that launched two years ago this month.

The Connecticut Justice Alliance released an update to their report on the criminalization of youth in the state at a press conference in Bridgeport on Monday.

The update featured two years of research on the root causes of why youth end up in the justice system.

Tenille Bonilla, a justice advisor for the alliance, said struggling youth are sometimes forced to make decisions leading to arrests, such as stealing cars for shelter.

“We need to make those connections between young people needing somewhere to sleep and choosing cars to be that place,” Bonilla said.

Christina Quaranta, the alliance's executive director, called on elected officials to better support Connecticut’s youth.

“We want economic security,” Quaranta said. “Healed communities. We want trust built. We want credible messengers. We want housing security. We want hope, we want equal opportunities and we demand that Connecticut and the state legislature address the root.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut joined the alliance at the conference.

Claudine Constant, the public policy and advocacy director at the ACLU of Connecticut, also said the state General Assembly should fund harm reduction instead of law enforcement.

“Our brave youth are out here, putting themselves out here, saying, 'We don't want to get in trouble. We’re not trying to do this. Invest in us and stop investing in police that only cause harm,'" Constant said. “And so, the ACLU of Connecticut supports that statement.”

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.