Connecticut police chiefs say a proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to be treated as juveniles in the justice system would hinder investigations and could cost towns money, the Hartford Courant reports. West Hartford Police Chief James Strillacci told legislators that requiring a parent or legal guardian to be present before a 16- or 17-year-old can be questioned would create more work for police departments already strapped for staff. Connecticut is one of three states that treat children as young as 16 as adults in court. The others are New York and North Carolina.
Strillacci said finding parents or legal guardians for some children isn’t easy and that can slow down investigators. A parent or guardian’s presence is required when police question juveniles. The legislature is considering A bill before the legislature’s select committee on children Tuesday called for raising the juvenile age from 16 to 18. Proponents point to new scientific research that shows 16- and 17-year-olds lack the emotional and mental maturity to appreciate the wrongfulness of their acts. Routing the older teens through juvenile courts would give them the support and counseling they need, advocates say.