Recognizing these harms and disparities, the ACLU-CT believes that children should be supported with services and resources that support them, their families, and their communities, rather than criminalized. The policies proposed by Senate Bill 365, though, do not share this value; instead, this bill’s proposals are primarily rooted in a criminal legal foundation. Senate Bill 365 is a problem in search of other problems. The bill is based on false narratives about young people. Politicians have made hyperbolic claims in the court of public opinion about the “rash” of car thefts. There is no such “rash”—in fact, car thefts in 2020 were down 3 percent relative to 2018, after a record-setting reduction in 2019. Connecticut differs from much of the country in that the state has seen a substantial decline in car thefts over the last decade, including a 20 percent drop in 2019 from the previous year. Since the peak of car thefts in Connecticut in 1991, the state saw a 77 percent reduction in the thefts to record lows in 2019. Like the rest of the country, rates of crimes across the board have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought economic destruction upon communities. Motor vehicle thefts have increased nationally, but Connecticut’s rate of theft has remained below the national rate. A majority of these motor vehicle thefts, in fact, are committed by adults, not children under eighteen. Moreover, data analysis makes clear that any perceived uptick in car thefts has no correlation to juvenile justice reforms made over the past few years.



Bill number

H.B. 5418