Over the past two decades, a tremendous volume of new knowledge has emerged about causes of adolescent delinquency and the effective responses. Through research and policy experimentation, scholars and practitioners have proven that several new approaches significantly improve outcomes for youth who become involved in delinquency, thereby enhancing public safety and saving taxpayers’ money. These advances provide public officials with unprecedented opportunities to redesign their juvenile justice systems for the benefit of youth, families and communities.
Unfortunately, most states and localities have been slow to recognize and act on this new information, slow to seize these opportunities for constructive change. Progress has been uneven.
Perhaps more than any other state, Connecticut has absorbed the growing body of knowledge about youth development, adolescent brain research and delinquency, adopted its lessons, and used the information to fundamentally re-invent its approach to juvenile justice. As a result, Connecticut’s system today is far and away more successful, more humane, and more cost-effective than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
This report will describe, dissect, and draw lessons from Connecticut’s striking success in juvenile justice reform for other states and communities seeking similar progress.
Population of focus: State government officials
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Organization: Justice Policy Institute