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Lamont signs juvenile criminal justice law aimed at car theft

Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont
Jessica Hill

Members of the Black and Puerto Rican caucus oppose the new law. They are concerned that police might use it to disproportionately target children of color.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has signed a controversial new juvenile crime law aimed at combating car theft.

The new law expedites court appearances for juvenile offenders, gives Superior Court judges the option to put minors on GPS monitoring and allows law enforcement broader access to juvenile records.

The legislation passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support in response to an increase in car thefts following the pandemic.

It's focused on repeat offenders, said Lamont. “To make sure that those few folks who cause the vast majority of be it car thefts or shootings or other related crimes, we can get them arraigned on a timely basis and if they are a danger to themselves or a danger to the community, get them off the street.”

A regional task force has begun reducing the record number of car thefts in his community, but the law would also help, said Glastonbury Police Chief Marshall Porter.

“They’ve done a really good job of bringing down some of those numbers. But the challenge is we always got to remain vigilant.This bill is a step in the right direction. We will really be looking to see the impact that it continues to have on crime in our respective communities,” Porter said.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.