April 13, 2018

Malloy: ‘Costly’ Middletown juvenile center closes

A Middletown juvenile center closed its doors Thursday after the few remaining youth inmates exited its 32-acre lot, the governor announced.

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School, built in 2001 for $57 million, was the brainchild of former Gov. John G. Rowland. A corruption scandal involving the facility's site contracts embroiled a top adviser to then-Gov. Rowland, who also resigned after a corruption probe in 2004.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday called the juvenile center an "ill-advised" and "costly relic of the Rowland era."

"It placed young boys in a prison-like facility, making rehabilitation, healing, and growth more challenging," Malloy said. "The fact remains that this isn't a celebratory moment, but a time to reflect on the past mistakes made when it comes to juvenile justice, and an opportunity to create a system that better serves our young people and society as a whole."

The juvenile center provided services to males between 12 to 20 years old and originally intended to house more than 200 young inmates. The facility, with its six buildings surrounding a central courtyard, stopped admitting new juveniles on Jan. 1.

The facility closure comes as juvenile crimes in Connecticut plunged by 56 percent between 2009 and 2016 and the number of young inmates from fell by nearly 85 percent from 2009 to 2017, the juvenile center reported.

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