Lawmakers meet to discuss juvenile justice reform proposals

Crime

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Residents around the state have been on high alert over increasing crime. News 8 has been reporting for weeks about closed-door talks among lawmakers. It appears those talks have hit a wall.

Republicans held a press conference to clear the air. They say they’ve put forward nearly 20 ideas, but Democrats are not willing to go into a special session to take a vote. Republicans say they’re not in favor of incarceration for a juvenile who steals their first car.

“The maximum penalty for a conviction in juvenile court is 30 months of supervised probation for a murder,” said State Rep. Craig Fishbein.

Leaders say there is agreement on half of the ideas, including expanding the six-hour hold when the teen is arrested and giving judges access to arrest records after hours. Many say that’s a glaring blind spot.

“The fact that we’ve been talking about this glaring blind spot for over a month and the fact that nothing has been done speaks volumes here,” Fishbein said.

“Making sure they have that information nobody is opposed to that. That alone will make a critical difference when the cops are applying to detain the person for more than six hours. When we reach that point where there’s an agreement, I have no problem voting on this as soon as possible,” said State Rep. Matt Ritter.

Safe Streets Connecticut is not waiting. They pushed and now Glastonbury Police have a vehicle theft task force and spike sticks to stop stolen cars and escalating behavior.

“If a juvenile has possession of a high-capacity magazine, I think perhaps that person is in danger to society, and something more needs to be done,” said Kristen Bourbeau, Safe Streets CT.

Democrats held a press conference last week saying the rise in juvenile crime is not specific to Connecticut. They’re asking for intervention, not incarceration or big overhauls to a system they say works.

At this point, it’s unclear if lawmakers will be called back to the Capitol to deal with the issue.

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