Shelton lawmakers join House Republicans in unveiling juvenile justice reforms

Conneticut state Representatives Ben McGorty (R-122), and Jason Perillo (R-113) recently joined their colleagues at the state Capitol Building in Hartford at a news conference about juvenile crime, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, in backing a list of specific policies that they have identified to reform the state's juvenile justice laws, and seek accountability for the victims of the state's summer juvenile crime wave. Connecticut House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora of North Branford addresses the media during the news conference.

Conneticut state Representatives Ben McGorty (R-122), and Jason Perillo (R-113) recently joined their colleagues at the state Capitol Building in Hartford at a news conference about juvenile crime, on Tuesday, Aug. 10, in backing a list of specific policies that they have identified to reform the state's juvenile justice laws, and seek accountability for the victims of the state’s summer juvenile crime wave. Connecticut House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora of North Branford addresses the media during the news conference.

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HARTFORD - State Reps. Ben McGorty (R-122) and Jason Perillo (R-113) joined fellow House Republicans colleagues in backing a list of specific policies they have identified to reform the state's juvenile justice laws and seek accountability for the victims of the state’s summer juvenile crime wave.

During a news conference Aug. 10 on the North Steps of the state Capitol, House Republicans listed more than a dozen proposed statutory and policy changes centered around three core principles - prevention, accountability and rehabilitation.

“To respond to some of my colleagues across the aisle, this is not political posturing or grandstanding,” Perillo said. “This is real. We live in these communities, too. We have young children, spouses, family, and friends that we’re worried about.

“And believe it or not, we are worried about these teenagers who feel empowered to commit these crimes because of a system that has failed them and the public at large,” Perillo added. “We want to keep them safe, too. We just want to keep everyone safe, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

The proposed reforms include implementing victim impact panels in juvenile delinquency hearings, electronic monitoring for juveniles arrested while awaiting trial on previous offenses, expedited arraignment for felonies, a sex assault, offense involving use of a firearm, court ordered family support services intervention at juvenile court arraignments, expanding circumstances in which a matter is automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket, including instances involving a loss of life or use of a firearm; and creating a new offense of “larceny of a motor vehicle” not tied to the value of the vehicle.

“House Republicans are offering solutions that get to the heart of this issue and offer real accountability to everyone in the juvenile justice process,” McGorty, who serves as an Assistant Republican Leader in the state House, said.

“For those who have so far only offered divisive rhetoric but were quick to walk away from the negotiating table when solutions were required — now is your chance,” McGorty added. “This critical public safety issue demands the immediate and full attention of every elected member of the General Assembly, and it can't wait for the end of this summer. Our communities can't wait that long.”

Juvenile crime was a focus for House Republicans headed into the 2021 legislative session. The session, however, ended without substantial progress in reforming juvenile justice laws.

Amid a turbulent period of heightened juvenile criminal activity across the state, Perillo said, where reports of car thefts in Shelton tripled in one year alone, and residents banded together on social media to thwart would-be thieves, House Republicans petitioned for a special legislative session.

“We petitioned for a special session more than a month ago following the tragic death of a man in New Britain after he was struck by a stolen vehicle operated by a minor with 13 prior arrests - 13 occasions where the juvenile justice system and DCF could have intervened, but their hands were tied, and now an innocent man has died,” Perillo, who serves as Deputy House Republican Leader, said.

The Republican proposals can be found at www.stopcarthefts.com. The Shelton reps said Republicans are asking members of the two Democratic legislative caucuses to sign their petition, initiate a special session and begin debate on these proposals.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com