Ending the Criminalization of Youth: One Investment at a Time, a new report by the Connecticut Juvenile Alliance, shares actionable legislative recommendations and community investments to help prevent and reduce the number of youth entering, cycling through the juvenile justice system. Some of these investments include housing, employment, and mental health and other support services to help youth and families.
The report identifies 7 Themes of System of Change, gathered through a series of community conversations,as the “root causes” of justice involvement. These include:
- Economic insecurity
- Housing insecurity
- Need for more credible messengers and positive influences
- Lack of equal opportunity
- Lack of trust in the system and abuse of authority
- Trauma caused within communities
- Lack of hope
The report explains some of the connections between justice involvement and youth homelessness. "We had plenty of participants tell us they were incarcerated for simply trying to meet a basic need, like stealing food to eat or breaking into a car to sleep in for the night. Teenagers talked a lot about being responsible for keeping a roof over their family’s head. 'It’s just me around to take care of my mom, so whatever I gotta do to keep her safe, that’s what I’m gonna do.'"(pg. 20)
Click here to read the report.