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May 22, 2006

Trust fund kids gone wild in Connecticut?

As I noted here when discussing the latest BJS incarceration data, state-to-state variation in imprisonment always intrigues me.  And, when I had a chance today to review the latest BJS stats, I was struck by Connecticut's imprisonment of persons under the age of 18. 

Connecticut has a relatively low total prison population and its prison incarceration rate is relatively low compared to the rest of the nation (although its leads the northeast region).  But Connecticut had, by far, the largest number of prisoners under the age of 18 as of midyear 2005.  Consider, for example, that Texas has nearly 10 times as many total persons imprisoned than Connecticut, but little Connecticut has more than twice as many minors in prison than Texas.  In Connecticut, nearly 2% of the entire state prison population as of midyear 2005 was under 18, but minors do not comprise more than 0.5% of all prisoners in any other state.

Do readers have ideas or background on why Connecticut has so many minors in state prison?

May 22, 2006 at 07:42 PM | Permalink


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Contrary to the popular belief, Connecticut has an inner-city (or three: NH, Bridgeport, and Hartford), and a rural area -- the northeast. Hence the new slogan: Connecticut, It's Not Just for Skakels.

Posted by: S.cotus | May 22, 2006 9:17:01 PM

I wonder whether Connecticut reports information differently than other states. Does it count children housed in state-operated secured juvenile detention facilities as prisoners?

Posted by: Dan Filler | May 23, 2006 12:13:10 AM

The age of majority in CT is, I believe, 16. So all young offenders 16-7 get "counted" in the study in CT where they may not in other states.

And yes, while CT may have a very high "per capita" income, thus leading to the trust-fund jokes, it also has three of the poorest cities in America: New Haven, Bridgeport (the only city I know of to go bankrupt), and Hartford. Drive through downtown New Haven and check out the abject poverty - not too many trust funds there.

Posted by: Ben | May 23, 2006 9:38:32 AM

There may be several factors contributing to the disproportionate number of young people in CT prisons. Besides the inner-city problems mentioned in other comments, another factor could be that Connecticut processes all accused 16 and 17 year olds in the adult criminal court (one of just three states that do this - there is some political movement to change this in CT). This could affect both the conviction rate for these defendants (compared to their counterparts in other states), and make it less likely that they will receive alternative sanctions(community service) as opposed to incarceration.

Posted by: Dru Stevenson | May 23, 2006 11:06:04 AM

Actually, I think the answer is that Connecticut is one of just a handful of states that have a combined prison and jail system. So, it's not apples and apples when comparing to other states, since of the total CT "prison" population figures, about one-third are people in jail. Since the jail figures include people awaiting trial or serving short sentences, it's likely that they include a greater proportion of juveniles than in most adult systems. So, CT may or may not be incarcerating kids at greater than the national average.

Posted by: Marc Mauer | May 23, 2006 12:54:03 PM

Re. the bankruptcy question, because I was interested:

"Since the 1930s, fewer than 500 municipalities have gone through bankruptcy. Cash-strapped cities that would benefit from Chapter 9 might be reluctant to file because the recovery process often involves unpopular service cuts and tax hikes; the political fallout also tends to be grave."

See http://www.slate.com/id/2128062/, "What happens when a city goes bankrupt?" (about San Diego; also mentions NYC came close in the 1970s, and mentions the Orange County bankruptcy in the mid-1990s)

Posted by: Eh Nonymous | May 23, 2006 4:29:39 PM

Hi, I'm a writer and I have a question about a revocable living family trust in Connecticut. If both parents and siblings die and just one daughter remains alive and the trust was set up for her and her brother and sister to receive all property when they reached the age of 30, can the trust be changed/revoked to reflect the new owners(daughter still alive) wishes?


Posted by: Peggy Parsons | Aug 23, 2006 1:40:29 AM

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