PA 14-217, section 79 , "An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Fiscal Year June 20, 2015" created the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee which was established to evaluate policies related to the Juvenile Justice system and the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction to include persons sixteen and seventeen years of age.
The Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee (JJPOC) was created in 2014 by Public Act 14-217 and is charged with evaluating policies related to the juvenile justice system and the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction to include persons 16 and 17 years of age. The University of New Haven was designated, by law, to staff the JJPOC. The Tow Youth Justice Institute (TYJI) of the University of New Haven is responsible for all management activities of the JJPOC.
PA 15-183 section 2(h) The committee shall complete its duties under [subsections (f) and (g) of] this section after consultation with one or more organizations that focus on relevant issues regarding children and youths, such as the University of New Haven and any of the university's institutes. The committee may accept administrative support and technical and research assistance from any such organization. The committee shall work in collaboration with any results first initiative implemented pursuant to section 2-111 or any public or special act.
One of the major accomplishments of the JJPOC is to develop priority goals in order to meet the statutory mandate that was assigned to the JJPOC to improve youth justice and child welfare in the state of Connecticut. The three strategic goals to guide juvenile justice reform efforts by mid-2018 are:
JJPOC Work Groups have been established to identify ways to implement the three strategic goals. In addition, the JJPOC determined that disproportionately minority contact (DMC) must be a priority in each Work Group. The JJPOC also established a Data Interoperability Work Group which will identify data collection, merging, and sharing and analysis issues across agencies in order to improve data capabilities.
In less than one year, the JJPOC has developed a common definition of recidivism for all state agencies. JJPOC has also determined the impact of the Raise the Age legislation that transferred the jurisdiction of 16 and 17 year olds from the adult criminal justice system to the juvenile justice system. The TYJI has reported on the average of juvenile offenders and the types of criminal offenses charged among juvenile offenders.
The TYJI has also begun a study to assess congregate care settings for juvenile offenders in state-run facilities. In February2016, a second study will commence which will assess congregate care in state-funded facilities. The study is focused on the conditions of confinement. The TYJI is also completing a project to identify strengths that support, as well as barriers that impede the educational needs of children and youth in the juvenile justice system; In addition, the TYJI team is responsible for developing a process for agencies to implement Results Based Accountability and assessing the overlap between the juvenile justice system and the mental health care system for children. In the last legislative session, a study of the vocational education needs of older adolescents and a study of training needs in the juvenile justice system was added to the JJPOC mandate.
The TYJI Team is very excited about this unique opportunity and looks forward to our continued work with the Legislative Committee to continue youth justice reform for the state of Connecticut.
The next meeting will be held March 16, 2017 in hearing room 2C at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT.
Click HERE for more information on the Connecticut General Assembly website.