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Juvenile Justice Report Shows Progress, Deficiencies In Reform

Eric Risberg

Half of all young offenders who were convicted of serious crimes and now serve time at the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire where first arrested when they were younger than 13-years-old.

That’s according to a report presented to Connecticut lawmakers and juvenile justice advocates at the policy meeting in Hartford on Thursday.

State Representative Robyn Porter says that statistic upset her.  

“I’m very uncomfortable with this conversation. I’m actually uncomfortable with the fact that we’re here talking about arresting 8, 9, 10, 11, 12-year olds. Why? Why is it acceptable that we are doing this?”

Porter, who is African-American, also said it troubled her to hear that more than 65 percent of youth at Manson look like her.  

The report studied serious offenders at Manson who were younger than 18-years-old between 2013 and 2015, after the Raise the Age bill was passed.

In that time, the percentage of Latino and white inmates had decreased while the population of black inmates had increased. The overall population of youth incarcerated at Manson dropped.

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.