Report details problems at CT Juvenile Training School in Middletown

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CT Juvenile Training School

MIDDLETOWN – The Office of the Child Advocate slammed the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and Pueblo Unit for failing to protect the juvenile offenders in their care.

The reports findings conclude the facility has inadequate suicide prevention, a lack of appropriate support and training for staff, inadequate and harmful crisis management, and a closed system that, despite significant public funding, offers little information about quality, public safety and oversight.

The Child Advocates office found 24 documented cases of attempted suicide from June 2014 to February 2015 and said CJTS and Pueblo have not adequately prevented or responded to youth suicide attempts and behavior leading to injury.

The Department of Children and Families said in a statement, “The Child Advocate’s findings and recommendations are very similar to those of Dr. Robert Kinscherff, an expert in juvenile justice and mental health, whose internal report was made public last week. As always, the priority of DCF remains the well-being of the children in our care. We have had a great degree of success and have made progress over the last five years, but we know there is still more work to be done to make sure every child in our care gets the service they need.”

Blind spots exist in Pueblo cells that could allow youths to go unmonitored in their cells according to the report.

The report found isolation and restraints were repeatedly used unlawfully, sometimes as behavior management or discipline when there was no documented emergency.

DCF did not investigate several allegations of abuse and neglect within the facility, according the report. DCF said allegations of abuse are investigated by an investigative unit and the department’s human resources unit.

The report recommended the agency review and improve guidelines, rectify problems with the layout of the rooms, increase training, reduce isolation and contract outside experts to support improvement.