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Bill To Close CT’s Juvenile Prison Heads To The Floor

Connecticut Department of Children and Families

A bill that would close Connecticut’s juvenile detention facility in Middletown by 2018 passed the General Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The Connecticut Juvenile Training Facility was under investigation last year for illegally putting children into restraints and seclusion.

State Representative Toni Walker (D-New Haven) is a member of the committee. Walker says closing the facility would let the state put money towards programs that help keep kids out of prison.

“We’re not talking about putting new funding in. We are talking about repurposing. And that’s the whole reason why it’s so important that we have the data to evaluate, are the programs that we are funding currently are efficient and serve the purposes that we want them to serve.”

Walker says about 80 percent of the youth who went through the juvenile detention facility have been in the Department of Corrections. She says data like that show the state is pouring money down a well.

Walker says she expects the bill to pass the House and Senate this session.

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.