Recently, Connecticut’s juvenile justice system has come under critical attack regarding its treatment of children in its custody. In fact, reviews of an assortment of Connecticut juvenile facilities, in particular the Pueblo Girls Unit in Middletown, has revealed that there has been an excessive and ineffective use of restraints on youngsters in Connecticut’s custody. Evidence has revealed that the use of physical restraints on juveniles end up further traumatizing already traumatized children, causing additional acts of aggression, instead of remedying undesirable behaviors.
The critiques of Connecticut’s juvenile system have not all been bad. Connecticut has received national praise for its use of incarceration alternative programs, which place children into supervised educational and treatment facilities, instead of juvenile detention centers. The result of such programs has been fewer youths ending up in juvenile jails. However, the current issue at hand is these supervised juvenile treatment facilities use of outdated restraint methods.
The Restraint of Juveniles Debate
Recently, it was revealed that the use of prone restraints on juveniles at the Pueblo Unit caused one girl with asthma to trigger a medical alert, which ultimately led to the prohibition of restraint use at the facility. It is well known that prone restraints present an increased risk for positional asphyxiation. Oftentimes, when prone restraints were being used on the girls at the Pueblo Unit, it was simply to force girls to comply with directions, regardless of whether the girl posed an actual safety risk that warranted the use of such a dangerous and restrictive restraint. The Pueblo Unit has also used handcuffs to restrain the girls, the use of which is strictly prohibited by the Pueblo Unit’s own rules. The uses of such restraints on juveniles resulted in the Pueblo Unit being reported for suspected child abuse. In addition to complaints of suspected child abuse, there have also been calls for an independent review of the Pueblo facility, and others would also like to see legislation in place that safeguards the rights of both girls and females who are part of the Connecticut Juvenile Training Schools.
The use of restraints on juveniles has been virtually eliminated from use in most psychiatric hospitals across the country. In fact most juvenile justice systems refrain from such uses because it has been proven that seclusion and restraint present no therapeutic value. If anything, such restraints result in heightened aggression by the constrained, thus creating additional risks to both staff and youths. Restraints do not stop bad behavior or teach youths how to properly conduct themselves; they simply force submission, which makes the youths feel more out of control, causing them to behave aggressively. Thus, the belief that restraints can educate patients to engage in socially acceptable behavior, has not been proven.
Do You Have Questions About Family Law in Connecticut?
The main criticism regarding Connecticut’s child custody system is the fact that the current system is outdated, and ineffective. In response to such criticism, the University of New Haven’s new juvenile justice institute will advise new Connecticut state commissions, and also provide public annual reports on the Connecticut juvenile justice system.
If you need assistance with any child custody or family law-related legal issues, should contact the experienced Fairfield County family law attorneys at our law firm today. We are prepared to help you understand Connecticut’s family laws, and advocate on you and your children’s behalf.