The New Haven Register says Connecticut’s “youthful offender” laws are widely misunderstood, including by police officers and school officials. The state in recent years has broadened its protections for youths who find themselves on the wrong side of the law by extending “youthful offender” status to 16- and 17-year-olds and restricting information that police may release. The protections don't extend to those accused of the most severe crimes, however.
The problem was evident in recent raids of underage-drinking parties in East Haven, Branford and Cheshire. The school superintendents in Branford and East Haven, where 22 and 24 teenagers, respectively, were ticketed last month, complained that their jobs were made more difficult because, under the relatively new laws, police would not release, even to them, the identities of high school students ticketed for possession of alcohol by a minor.