Lt. Gov. Wyman, Governor's Commission on Youth and Urban Violence Release Draft Report
(Hartford, CT) - Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Chair of the Governor's Commission on Youth and Urban Violence, today released the Commission's draft report which culminates nearly a year of work by community leaders, experts, and young adults who experienced violence in their lives. The report offers analysis and recommendations for identifying risk factors of youth violence in high-crime communities, establishing better partnerships to reduce violence, and prioritizing opportunities for youth in school and the workforce.
"Curbing youth violence is a priority for this Administration-we are not going to lose generations of young people to the effects of violence, trauma, and fear," said Lt. Governor Wyman. "Connecticut has seen a substantial drop in crime-we have the lowest crime rate in more than 40 years. All of our communities must benefit from these anti-violence initiatives, and our young people especially must have access to opportunity-jobs, a safe place after school, and a successful future. This report is a blueprint for achieving safer communities for all Connecticut residents."
Created by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman in March 2015, the Commission on Youth and Urban Violence was charged with reviewing the causes of youth violence in urban areas and developing recommendations that will further reduce the rate of violent crime.
To eliminate or drastically reduce the risk factors for youth violence, the Commission report includes the following recommendations:
- Declare violence a public health issue and adopt a broader definition of violence to include chronic stress, hunger, and other trauma. This will raise awareness of the impacts to young people and help establish appropriate prevention and support systems.
- Increase early detection of violence by incorporating it into the statewide behavioral health plan. Strengthen school, advocate, and agency partnerships to implement a screening process for violence and trauma.
- Prioritize family system wellness by improving the coordination of consistent, trauma-focused interventions from birth through age 26. These should include meeting basic needs as well as addressing chronic stress and other risk factors. Strengthen workforce development and opportunity for young people to improve success and independence.
- Compile a comprehensive list of criminal justice and diversionary programs for law enforcement and community organizations working with at-risk youth. Encourage partnerships between schools and law enforcement School Resource Officers. Study the impact of raising the age of criminal responsibility to 13 years of age.
- Support the expansion of non-criminal discipline in school settings, improve school response and engagement. Encourage school districts to invest in intervention specialists in high-need schools.
Improve contact with youths age 19-26 outside the criminal justice system. Encourage advisory boards to include in their deliberations youth who have experienced trauma or violence.
"Reducing youth violence is a critical public health issue," said the Lt. Governor. "We've got to put the interventions and supports in place long before young people are involved in the criminal justice system-these recommendations address how to strengthen families and improve a child's development."
The Governor's Commission on Youth and Urban Violence will convene a public hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, February 1, 2016 at Hartford Public High School, Forest Street, Hartford. Residents are invited to comment on the draft report before it is finalized and submitted to Governor Malloy. Residents can also submit written comment electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman