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Raising the Age

Land of Contrasts

A Broken System

Finding Champions

Making Juvenile Justice Reform Mainstream

Answering Objections

Full Court Press

Winning the Battle and the War

Raise the Age Timeline

2001 Various groups concerned with the treatment of kids in the juvenile justice system form The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance.

2003 The legislature creates the Juvenile Justice Implementation Team to review the issues, including costs, involved in raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction.

February 2004 The Juvenile Justice Implementation Team takes no position on whether the state should raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18. But the team discusses how the system would need to change to accommodate older teens and projects the costs to make such changes. It recommends against any changes that could compromise services to children currently in the juvenile justice system.

June 2005 Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance partners with Campaign for Youth Justice to remove youth younger than 18 from Connecticut’s adult criminal system.

July 2005 17-year-old David Burgos commits suicide while incarcerated in Manson Youth Institution for a parole violation.

August 2005 First meeting of the statewide advocates. Formation of Raise the Age coalition.

October 2005 Alliance produces Rights of Passage, a 12-minute educational video about the age of jurisdiction in Connecticut.

November-December 2005 Alliance hosts legislative breakfasts around the state to raise awareness of the need to Raise the Age in Connecticut.

January 2006 Legislation introduced to Raise the Age in Connecticut.

February 2006 Alliance hosts Educate the Legislature Day featuring a rally, press conference and national speakers addressing Appropriations and Judiciary Committee about why Raise the Age is good public policy.

February 2006 The Urban Institute releases a study showing that Connecticut will save $3 for every $1 it spends moving older teens to juvenile jurisdiction.

January-June 2006 Community advocates send 4,000 postcards to their legislators asking them to raise the age in Connecticut.

June 2006 Legislation passes establishing the Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Committee to plan for the move of 16- and 17-year-olds to juvenile jurisdiction. Advocacy groups and parents included on this committee.

February 2007 Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Committee releases report recommending Connecticut raise its age of jurisdiction from 16 to 18.

February 2007 Legislation is introduced proposing that Connecticut raise its age of jurisdiction from 16 to 18 effective January 1, 2010.

Bill passes appropriations.

Language included in budget implementer bill, thanks to work by state Sen. Toni N. Harp.

June 2007 Raise the Age is removed from the legislature’s budget, but Sen. Harp manages to restore it.

July 2007 Raise the Age legislation becomes law. The new law raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18, effective January, 2010. Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Operations Coordinating Committee (JJPOCC) created by the legislature to coordinate and oversee specific programming and statutory needs for implementation of Raise the Age.

February 2008 JJPOCC legislative champions, Rep. Toni Walker and Sen. Toni Harp, introduce JJPOCC-endorsed statutory revisions to Raise the Age legislation that reflect a compromise between advocates and the police in order to stop an effort to repeal the law. The revisions allow authorities to disregard some of the protections afforded juveniles when the suspects are 16 or older.

June 2008 A special session of the legislature passes the statutory revisions to Raise the Age legislation introduced through the JJPOCC.

February 2009 Governor M. Jodi Rell proposes delaying implementation of Raise the Age for two years to cut costs. Throughout the session, the Alliance will battle ridiculous local cost projections for the reform.

March 2009 JJPOCC members adopt and introduce compromise legislative language that would ensure on-time implementation of Raise the Age for 16-year-olds in 2010 while delaying implementation for 17-year-olds until 2012.

Spring 2009 Alliance works to highlight how juvenile justice system reforms through the 2000s have drastically reduced the size of Connecticut’s juvenile justice system, creating room in facilities, programs and courts to absorb 16-year-olds without as much new investment as was projected originally.

October 2009 Legislature finally approves state budget in a long contentious session. State Rep. Toni Walker and other champions continually fight for Raise the Age in the face widespread budget cuts. Sen. Toni Harp, co-chair of the Appropriation Committee, refuses to back down and secures in the budget compromise language that will Raise the Age to 17 on January 1, 2010, and to 18 on July 1, 2012. The budget also includes “Raise the Age-related” funding for the two state agencies with responsibility for juvenile justice.

January 1, 2010 16-year-olds in Connecticut enjoy juvenile protection.

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