The Center for Children’s Advocacy’s Racial Justice Project spearheads its juvenile justice policy work through four Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) committees in Connecticut cities which historically have been the largest feeders into the juvenile justice system.
The RED model creates a diverse roundtable of individuals who are key decision makers in the lives of youth in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury. Members include juvenile probation supervisors, DCF regional administrators, Juvenile Review Board directors, judges, police, school officials, city and municipal staff, and key community-based program representatives, among others.
The overall goals of the RED committees is to reduce the over-representation of youth of color at key decision making points throughout the juvenile justice and educational systems, reduce the disparate treatment of youth of color at these decision points, and prevent youth of color from unnecessarily entering and moving through the juvenile justice system and school-to-prison pipeline.
Each committee engages in the effective examination of data at each decision point, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, gender and age, identifies areas of disparity and plans strategic interventions, including local and national best practices, to implement change.
The committees have been in place in Hartford and Bridgeport since 2011, New Haven since 2013 and Waterbury since 2015 and have seen significant decreases in school based arrest, referrals to court and secure detention admissions in each of these cities.
Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Connecticut
Success Statistics – 2017
- Adoption of protocols and guidelines in New Haven and Waterbury for youth returning to the community from placement in juvenile justice facilities (including Connecticut Juvenile Training School and Manson Youth Institute) to ensure youth can immediately reenter school and receive the necessary community supports to be successful.
- Implementation of restorative justice practices at four pilot schools in Bridgeport shows a positive impact on school climate and discipline.
- In Bridgeport, as of May, 2017, Out of School Suspensions (OSS) at Columbus School were down 52% and down 63% at Harding High School.
- Continuing implementation of Deep End Diversion at Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS), including restorative justice approaches, to reduce the number of arrests.
- DCF central office adopted the Washington State model protocol for runaway girls who are also likely the victims of exploitation or trafficking. The protocol ensures a victim-centered response to these girls as opposed a response that recommends detainment or is punitive in nature.
- School based arrests decreased 27% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
- Implementation of citywide restorative justice practices and revised code of conduct show significant impact on school climate and discipline, with substantial decreases in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions.
- Out of School Suspensions decreased by 21% from 2015-16 to 2016-17 and have decreased by 27% since 2014-15.
- Expulsions decreased by 43% from 2015-16 to 2016-17 and have decreased by 57% since 2014-15.
- New Haven Public Schools has developed a plan to address truancy and chronic absenteeism in the 2017-18 school year. Truancy matters will no longer be accepted by the juvenile court.
- District’s chronic absenteeism rate decreased from 19.9% to 18.3% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
- Substantial decrease in juvenile court delinquency referrals for first quarter of 2017.
- 21% decrease for first 6 months of 2017 vs. first 6 months of 2016 (includes 6% decrease for Black youth and 52% decrease for Hispanic youth).
- Substantial decrease in secure detention admissions for first 6 months of 2017 vs. first 6 months of 2016.
- 37% decrease for first quarter of 2017 as compared to the first quarter of 2016. This includes a 27% decrease for Black youth and a 67% decrease for Hispanic youth.
- Juvenile Court Delinquency referrals were down 27% overall for the first 6 months of 2017.
- Referrals for Black youth were down 23% and referrals for Hispanic youth were down 30%.
- Secure Detention Admissions were down 24% overall for the first 6 months of 2017.
- Admissions for Black youth were down 22% and for Hispanic youth down 19%.
- Misdemeanor referrals to court were down 38% through August 2017.
- School-based arrests decreased 19% from the 2015-16 school year and have decreased 32% since the 2014-15 school year.
- Includes 7% decrease for Black students and 22% decrease for Hispanic students.
- Secure detention admissions for Black youth decreased 13% for the first 6 months of 2017.
- School based arrests decreased 51% from the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 school year, with a 56% total decrease since the 2014-15 school year.
- Significant decrease in lower level arrests for disorderly conduct or breach of peace charges.
- Implementation of Juvenile Review Board (JRB) protocols for police and schools to directly refer youth to JRB.
- Implementation of protocols within schools to focus on reducing the number of youth charged with breach of peace and disorderly conduct.
- Secure detention admission decreased by 38% comparing first 6 months of 2016 to first 6 months of 2017
- Includes 45% drop for black youth.
- Protocol implemented by DCF regional office to ensure that the case of any child in congregate care who was arrested more than once within the year, would undergo an internal case review and also be referred to an educational consultant.