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MAYOR BRONIN URGES IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIES TO REDUCE YOUTH VIOLENCE

(February 1, 2016) Today, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin endorsed the draft recommendations released by the Commission on Youth and Urban Violence, and urged state leaders to implement the recommendations, which include declaring violence a public health issue, improving interventions focused on reducing the effects of exposure to trauma, and working to divert young people away from the criminal justice system.  Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Chair of the Commission established as part of Governor Malloy’s Second Chance Society initiatives, is holding a public hearing today at Hartford Public High School from 2:30 to 4:30 to solicit input from residents before moving forward with final recommendations. The Commission is made up of community leaders, public safety officials, experts, and victims.

“I commend Lieutenant Governor Wyman and the Commission for putting forward serious, smart recommendations to combat violence in our cities,” Mayor Bronin said. “We need to recognize that violence is a public health problem, and the recommendations put forward by this Commission puts the emphasis where it belongs – on behavioral health, early intervention, and alternatives to the criminal justice system for our young people.”

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. 

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