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Conn. Budget Bill Excludes CJTS Closing

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

In a special session, The Connecticut General Assembly has passed a bill to close a deficit of more than $350 million in the state’s $20 billion budget.

The plan includes various cost cutting measures, but one proposal was left out. The proposal would gradually close the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown. That’s the state’s locked juvenile detention facility for boys.

Democratic legislative leaders decided to remove it from the budget bill at the last minute. They said Governor Dannel Malloy could take such a step using his executive authority. Senate President Martin Looney said he supports the idea.

“The governor, I believe, also is of that opinion that it should be closed," he said. "But, in order to do so, we have to have an alternate plan for the placement of the young people who are there and also a way to provide for provision for the staff of that facility currently, so it can’t be done in a way that is abrupt and not well planned.”

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said closing CJTS and creating an alternative plan for rehabilitating juvenile offenders would be better for the kids.

“We believe that there are better places for them, whether it’s residential group homes, private placements, etc. where they can get the help they need, and will cost the state a lot less,” she said.

A committee of legislators, juvenile justice advocates and experts are considering alternative programs. Those programs would offer therapy and mentorship at the cost of $75 a day, per child. That’s one-tenth the cost of running CJTS, which costs $750 dollars a day, per child.

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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