Incarceration of Connecticut and New York
Incarceration is a fundamental part of the criminal justice system. Effective incarceration upholds the rule of law by ensuring that alleged criminals are brought to justice and sanctioned for serious wrongdoing. Correctional facilities offer experiences and opportunities that help offenders to successfully undergo rehabilitation. The U.S. is known for mass incarceration. The country incarcerates the highest number of people in the world. However, there is enormous variation in incarceration across the U.S. For instance, Connecticut and New York incarceration population including the youth varies widely.
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, there are approximately 18,000 people detained in correctional facilities in Connecticut (2018). 17,000 of this population are in state prisons, 1,200 in federal prisons, while 280 are locked up in youth facilities. In the New York, however, the numbers are startling high. There are approximately 88,000 people incarcerated in NYC (Prison Policy Initiative, 2018). Similar to Connecticut, the highest number of people is locked up in the state prisons: 53,000 individuals. 23,000 are in local jails, 10,000 in federal prisons, while 1,600 are held at youth facilities. The composition of these populations bears similar trends. In both regions the highest number of the incarcerated is Blacks while Whites are the least population (Prison Policy Initiative, 2018). In Connecticut, Hispanics are the second most populated group in detention, followed closely by American Indians/Alaska Natives. In NYC, however, the number of American Indian/Alaska Natives is slightly higher than the Hispanics.
Youth incarceration patterns also vary in both regions. Since 2004, youth incarceration in Connecticut dropped by a whopping 69% between 2004 and 2016 (Love, Pelletier & Harvell, 2017). Averagely, 250 juveniles were committed delinquent to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) daily in 2016. In this state, there are relatively high Black-White disparities of imprisonment rates. The ratio of Black to White imprisonment is 10:1 and youth of color are incarcerated 14 times more than the White youth (Love, Pelletier & Harvell, 2017). Black population is the highest, followed by Latino. Connecticut’s juvenile justice system has recently focused on reducing the numbers of children held in detention and recidivism rates. These measures have featured the removal of youth under the age of 18 from adult facilities and the closure of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School.
In NYC, juveniles accounted for less than 4% of major felonies arrests (The Correctional Association of New York, n.d.). Although there have been downward trends in youth crime in NYC, large numbers of youth are continually locked up in correctional facilities than Connecticut. In 2009, the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) detained 5,833 youth (The Correctional Association of New York, n.d.). Similar to Connecticut, racial disparity in detention facilities is massive. Blacks and Latinos account for 95% of the total population of the detained youth in New York. However, most of these juveniles are classified as delinquents not offenders. NYC has also worked towards reducing the number of detained youth. 2008, for instance, NYC was the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to implement weekend arraignment for juveniles under the age of 16 (The Correctional Association of New York, n.d.). Youth arrested on weekends are arraigned in court immediately.
There are various differences in Connecticut and New York incarceration. New York incarcerates a higher population including juveniles compared to Connecticut. In both regions, however, the colored people attribute to over 70% of the population in correctional facilities, with Blacks being the highest. Although juvenile crime rates have dropped, NYC continues to detain greater numbers of juveniles relative to Connecticut.
Love, H., Pelletier, E. & Harvell, S. (2017, June). Data snapshot of youth incarceration in Connecticut. Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/91551/data_snapshot_of_youth_incarceration_in_connecticut_1.pdf
Prison Policy Initiative. (2018). Connecticut profile. Prison Policy Initiative. Retrieved from https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/CT.html
Prison Policy Initiative. (2018). New York profile. Prison Policy Initiative. Retrieved from https://www.prisonpolicy.org/profiles/NY.html
The Correctional Association of New York. (n.d.). Juvenile detention in New York City. The Correctional Association of New York. Retrieved from www.correctionalassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/…/detention_fact_sheet_2010.pdf