State Republicans unveil new crime bill targeted at juvenile offenders
Connecticut Republicans unveiled a sweeping plan Tuesday to address crime – and teens are the primary target.
Last summer, Henryk Gudelski was out for a jog in New Britain when a stolen car jumped a sidewalk and killed him. The driver was a teenager who had been arrested a dozen times in the last four years.
Their bill makes major changes. Juveniles would have to appear in court the day after a crime and it would be easier to keep them detained. Suspects who are released would have 24/7 GPS monitoring, and more teens would be automatically tried as adults, including 14-year-olds, for violent crimes.
"We can't wish for quick fixes, nor can we accept that these circumstances will be self-correcting," said state Sen. Tony Hwang.
It's not just about jail time. The GOP also wants more job training and safe housing options.
Democrats say prosecutors and judges already have the power to crack down on chronic criminals.
"Do your job," said state Sen. Gary Winfield. "If it is your job to avail yourself of certain policy prescriptions that are in existence under the law and you don't, then when a person has done eight, nine, 10 crimes, then of course, why are you doing that?"
Republicans also want to rollback part of the 2020 Police Accountability Law, but Democrats say that's a nonstarter.
Not everyone agrees crime is spiking, but in an election year, lawmakers know voters are watching.
The draft bill LCO No. 766 An Act Concerning Opportunities for Youths, Housing Reforms and Juvenile and Criminal Justice Reforms is available here.
Read the plan summary at SaferCT.com.