AP NEWS

Malloy: young prison inmates on decline

September 18, 2016 GMT

HARTFORD - The state has seen a 54 percent decline over the last seven years in the number of prison inmates aged 18 to 21 years old, according to statistics released by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The number of arrests of persons in the same age group decreased by 53 percent over a similar time period, state officials said.

Malloy said the numbers are a “positive sign” that crime rates will continue to decline over the coming years, and said the decreases can be largely attributed to raising the age of juvenile offenders to 18, which took full effect in July 2012, and school based diversionary programs that have been instituted.

“Since taking office, we have been working to reform our criminal justice system - lowering the crime rate, making our communities safer and reducing the number of people caught up in a cycle of repeat offenses,” Malloy said.

“We know that if we can keep young people from entering our criminal justice system, the odds are in their favor that they will experience better lifelong outcomes,” the governor added. “It is clear that our recent efforts have been successful, and that is why we are proposing to expand these reforms even further. Our prisons should not serve as crime schools.”

Connecticut has 899 inmates aged 18 to 21, down from 2,067 on July 1, 2009. The reduction has been constant each year since 2009, and the result of the dramatic decline in the number of young being people arrested, state officials said.

In 2008, 6,624 17-year-olds were arrested. Last year, the number of 17-year-olds that were arrested was 2,289, a reduction of 66 percent, according to state figures.

Youthful offenders are also experiencing similar declines. Between 2009 and 2016, there has been a 23 percent decline in the number of inmates aged 22 to 29. Inmates under the age of 18 have dropped from 332 in 2009 to 76 in 2016, a decrease of 77 percent.