In 1996, Connecticut's youth population under age 18 was approximately 798,000 (Casey Foundation 1998).
Of the State's children, approximately 7 percent were living in families with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level in 1995. Further, it is estimated that in
1995, approximately 14 percent of Connecticut's children under age 13 were living in working-poor families or families where at least one parent was working 50 or more hours a week but the family's income was still below the poverty level (Casey Foundation 1998).
Connecticut ranked 16th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1995. This same year, the birth rate in the State was approximately 27 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was up from 19 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1998).
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System
The Supreme Court, Appellate Court, Superior Court, and Probate Court make up Connecticut's judicial system. The Governor nominates and the legislature appoints all judges for the Supreme, Appellate, and Superior Courts. The Superior Court is the State's sole court of general jurisdiction and handles criminal, civil, family, and housing issues (Connecticut Office of Policy and Management 1994, p. 6).
In Connecticut, the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters has jurisdiction over all cases concerning the behavior and custody of uncared for, neglected and dependent, and delinquent youth under age 16 within the State (Connecticut Office of Policy and Management 1994, p. 4). In delinquency matters, the State's juvenile prosecutors handle the most serious and contested cases. These juvenile prosecutors work in the Division of Criminal Justice. The Judicial Branch oversees juvenile probation, while the State Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for providing appropriate residential treatment services for juvenile offenders. Connecticut has only one State-run residential facility for delinquent children, the Long Lane School, and youth not placed at the Long Lane School are supervised by DCF's parole services (Connecticut Office of Policy and Management 1994, p. 9).
The Formula Grants Program is housed within the State Office of Policy and Management, Policy Development and Planning Division.
Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders
The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in Connecticut:
Table 6. Connecticut Top 10 Offenses for Young Women, 1993
Approach to Female Offenders
Before applying for Challenge Activity E funding, Connecticut completed a report on gender bias in its juvenile justice system. This report, Assessment of Gender Bias in Connecticut's Juvenile Justice System, was a quantitative analysis of the juvenile justice system in Connecticut. Although most decisions do not appear to be influenced by gender, the report's data did reveal instances where young men received more severe dispositions for felony offenses than females while females received more severe dispositions for misdemeanor violations. Specifically, young women charged with misdemeanors were more often placed in detention than young men with similar charges. Young women adjudicated for violations of court orders were also more likely than males to be committed to Long Lane School and spent more days and a greater percentage of their commitments at the school than did their male counterparts (Connecticut Office of Policy and Management 1995, p. 1). For information on ordering a copy of this report, see Appendix B, Available State Products.
In response to the data in the report, Connecticut chose to use its Challenge Activity funds to support the creation of a tracking program providing intensive reunification and aftercare services to young women leaving Long Lane School or other residential placements in the State. Specifically, the program provides intensive supervision and a range of support services designed to assist young women in not reoffending. For additional information on this programming effort, contact Barbara Kelley, Program Director, North American Family Institute, 10 Harbor Street, Danvers, MA 01923.
Connecticut has also responded to juvenile female offender data with State funding for specialized programs for girls on juvenile probation and those requiring residential options.
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Data Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Policy Development and Planning Division. 1994. Connecticut 1994 Three Year Juvenile Justice Plan. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Policy Development and Planning Division. 1995. Connecticut 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.