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Report: Connecticut Has Cut the Rate at Which It Puts Young People Behind Bars

A new report shows that Connecticut has sharply cut the the rate at which it puts young people behind bars.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, it's the sharpest decline in the nation. 
When it comes to rate at which they've slowed the incarceration of young people over the course of a decade, five states fare the best -- Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Minnesota and Connecticut.  And our state is at the top of the list, cutting its incarceration rate by more than 50 percent. 
That's according to a report released this week by the DC-based Justice Policy Institute.  Spike Bradford is it's author. One reason the data looks good is this: 
"The state recommitted itself to the idea of treating juveniles in a developmentally appropriate way -- that they're different from adults, their behavior is different from adults, and the kinds of responses that we give them should be different from adults."
But not all of the news is good.
"The only negative aspect of this for Connecticut, which is something all the states share, which is the disproportionate confinement of youth of color has actually increased."
Another report issued this week came from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  It, too, says Connecticut is a national leader when it comes to reducing its rate of youth incarceration.
Abby Anderson is the executive director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance.
"We've learned that we can keep kids out of the system, at the same time we're keeping the community safe and we're not spending more money than we were before."
And she says that means the state is doing something right. 
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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