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  • The Narrative Project

CTJA Poll: CT Residents Favor Youth Justice System Focused On Prevention and Rehabilitation

Updated: Apr 13, 2021


March 29, 2021 Ashlee Niedospial


Bridgeport, CT – The Connecticut Justice Alliance and Youth First Initiative today released a new survey that revealed 75% of Connecticut residents favor a youth justice system that focuses on prevention and rehabilitation and outlined strong support for proposals to reform the system in Connecticut. “Residents of this state understand that incarceration and punishment do not build safer communities. If we want a legal system that is effective, humane, and serves our youth we have to focus on rehabilitation and prevention. This poll confirms that,” said Christina Quaranta, Executive Director, Connecticut Justice Alliance. “With this immense support, Legislators have the opportunity this session to enact reforms to our systems that continue to move Connecticut in a more just direction and support the system-impacted young people in our state.” The survey, conducted by GBAO strategies, discovered support for prevention and rehabilitation is high regardless of education and political affiliation. Democrats, independents, and Republicans all prefer focusing on prevention and rehabilitation over punishment and incarceration with at least 3-in-5 of each party backing this position (90%, 70%, 63% respectively). “For years, the American people have recognized that youth prisons are dangerous, inhumane, and ineffective, and understand that more needs to be done to support alternatives to incarceration.” said Liz Ryan, Executive Director, Youth First. “The polling is clear and it's time for more elected officials to listen and take the necessary steps to make a positive change in the lives of young people.” The survey of 500 adults found:

  • Connecticut Residents Do Not Want a Justice System Focused on Punishment and Incarceration: 75% favor a youth justice system that focuses on prevention and rehabilitation

  • Strong Support For Proposals To Reform Youth Justice System In Connecticut: Connecticut residents broadly support a wide range of specific policy proposals aimed at reforming the country’s youth justice system into one that focuses on rehabilitation instead of just punitive incarceration policies

  • Support For Closing Youth Prisons Is Growing: 63% of Connecticut residents favor closing youth prisons, up from 49% in 2019. After Connecticut residents learned more about the rationale for closing youth prisons, support grew even further—from 63% to 78%

  • Connecticut Residents Favor Federal Incentives And Funding To Aid Youth Justice Reforms: 80% favor Congress providing financial incentives to state and local governments that shift investments away from incarcerating youth and towards community services for youth

  • Majority Supports Releasing Youth In Order To Slow COVID-19 Spread In Youth Prisons: 71% support early release for youths deemed not a threat to public safety to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in youth prisons

  • Connecticut Residents Overwhelmingly Believe In Rehabilitation, Counseling, And Giving Youth A Chance To Better Themselves: Both law enforcement households (79%) and non-law enforcement households (83%) believe that rehabilitation is superior to incarceration

The Connecticut Justice Alliance continues to advocate for practices, policies and investments that work to keep kids out of the justice systems and prevents system-impacted youth from re-entering the system by focusing on rehabilitation and addressing the root causes of youth criminalization. View the results of the poll here

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About the Connecticut Justice Alliance:

The Connecticut Justice Alliance is a youth/adult partnership working to end the criminalization of youth. The Alliance works to disrupt and dismantle the pathways that funnel children and youth into the juvenile justice system by using organizing, advocacy, and policy tools to protect the rights, futures, and well-being of potentially, currently, and formerly incarcerated youth, while also ensuring youth who are detained, incarcerated, and involved in the courts and legal systems receive safe, fair, and dignified treatment. CTJA was formerly known as the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. ABOUT YOUTH FIRST Youth First is a national advocacy campaign to end the incarceration of youth by closing youth prisons and investing in community-based alternatives to incarceration and programs for youth.

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