Home News Center Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Celebrates Police Accountability Law as Important First Step

Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Celebrates Police Accountability Law as Important First Step

October 29, 2020
Courtney M. McSwain



This fall, Connecticut advocates scored a great achievement with the signing of a 
police accountability bill into law. The new law mandates all police officers wear body cameras, bans almost all use of chokeholds, creates a new independent inspector general to investigate deadly police force and places limits on “qualified immunity,” making it easier for people to file lawsuits against police officers and jurisdictions for wrong doing - among other provisions.  NJJN member Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance (CTJJA) provided testimony for the bill 

CTJJA sees the bill as a win and important first step to creating greater law enforcement accountability, especially in its treatment towards communities of color. “Though this bill is an important step in the right direction, Connecticut still has leaps and bounds to go to make meaningful progress in all areas covered by this bill as well as in areas that this bill does not address,” CTJJA said in a released statement. “Looking at any of Connecticut’s recent budgets, it's clear that our state, like much of the nation, has chosen to prioritize the funding of police and prisons over education, housing, and economic opportunities. That must change and that is why this bill is so important. It is time that Connecticut thoroughly evaluates where, when, and how police respond and where a social service response would be more appropriate, safe, and effective,” CTJJA said in a released statement.  

One of the areas that didn’t get addressed by the bill, which was advocated for by CTJJA, was the removal of school resource officers (SROs) in favor of investing in resources that have greater impact on school safety and student well-being.  A broad coalition of organizations are working on this issue going into the 2021 legislative session. Additionally, CTJJA is pushing the Police Accountability and Transparency Taskforce to adopt a platform supporting police-free schools, as outlined in recent testimony from incoming Executive Director Christina Quaranta:

“An investment in SROs is an example of investing in the criminalization of youth. CTJJA calls on Connecticut to stop criminalizing youth for their behavior. Instead of funding school resource officers and other punitive responses, it’s time to invest in what the young people, their families, and communities say that they need. In our recent report, Ending the Criminalization of Youth: One Investment at a Time, we call on the state of Connecticut to invest in solutions that promote community well being and public safety. Schools need to work to be creative in thinking of how to work with young people who have experienced trauma or who are just having a hard time. Invest in trauma based services. Invest in programs like Credible Messengers, Youth Advocate Programs, Cure Violence. Invest in youth success.”  

- Christina Quaranta, CTJJA incoming Executive Director, testimony to the Police Accountability and Transparency Task Force.  

Looking forward to the 2021 legislative session, CTJJA plans to continue advocating to bolster the police accountability law by addressing the missing components, like removal of SROs from schools. Other legislative priorities for 2021 include raising the minimum age of arrest to 12 and removing all youth under 18 from prison-like environments.  

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To learn more about the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 

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