Yesterday, our partners at the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (CTJJA) celebrated Governor Dannel Malloy’s announcement that the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CTJS), a youth prison for boys, has finally closed! This makes Connecticut the first state in the country to close all its youth prisons.
This is a huge victory for CTJJA, for their Justice Advisors, all the community members statewide who shared their wisdom and their passion, and allies in state government who were willing to listen and learn. They did it with the help of supporters nationwide, including many of you—so THANK YOU for all you’ve done.
Read CTJJA’s statement on the closure: https://ctjja.org/breaking-news-ct-juvenile-training-school-officially-closed/
CTJS opened in 2001, but its roots are old; it was simply a newer version of Connecticut’s first youth prison, The State Reform School, which opened in 1854 after the state abolished slavery. This historic closure was a long time coming. In October 2017, after tireless work from CTJJA, the legislature set a date of July 1, 2018 to remove all the boys from the prison. Since then, CTJJA’s team has been educating, organizing, and advocating, to make the closure happen on schedule and ensure no child fell through the cracks during the transition. More than two months early, they have succeeded in that goal.
As CTJJA reminds us in their statement, this hard work is not over. The state now needs to truly involve the community – especially currently and formerly justice-involved youth, their families, and others most affected by the system – in reshaping juvenile justice. It is time to build and invest in mentoring, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, education, and accountability programs that truly rehabilitate.
The team at CTJJA, their Justice Advisors, and advocates across the state are committed to keeping the pressure on. Connecticut’s kids deserve it. I know we can count on all of you to have their backs, too.
Congratulations again to the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance team and all the advocates in Connecticut, for their years of work to close this prison. They have set the state on a path to a more just future.
The Youth First Team