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Proposed Bill Would Close CT Juvenile Training School


In Connecticut, the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee voted in support of a bill on Thursday that would close the Connecticut Juvenile Training School by July 2018. It’s the state’s only locked juvenile detention facility run by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

A state investigation of the juvenile detention facility released this summer found that children were being restrained and placed in illegal seclusion while they were in emotional distress.

Joette Katz is commissioner of DCF that oversees the Juvenile Training School. Katz says the bill would require upgrades to computer recordkeeping at the facility. She says that would cost her department money at a time the state’s asking her to do more with less.

“Considering I oversee an agency that’s lost over $100 million in the last five years, and we’re holding together ORE [the Office of Research and Evaluation] and our IT department with bubblegum and scotch tape, it really does put a huge imposition. And when we were asked to talk about the things that we really need to prioritize, it really does play, play a role,” Katz said.

She says the bill also includes recommendations for changing the juvenile justice system that members of the committee did not agree on. The bill now moves to the Judiciary Committee, where it will be open for public comment.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the bill calls for the closing of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School by July of 2018. An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the closing date was July of 2016. 

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.