Waterbury coming up with solution to curb in-school arrests

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)–About a year ago, officials in Waterbury noticed they had a problem when it came to students being arrested during school hours.

That’s when talks began between the schools and the police, resulting in a signed pact that they hope will reduce in-school arrests.

“It’s an agreement we’ve entered with school department and Waterbury Youth Services, in an effort to reduce school-based arrests,” said Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Chris Corbett. “Rather than make a custodial arrests, resource officers will now have the option to issue a summons to a juvenile review board.”

Statistics show that Waterbury arrests more students than any other city in the state. This agreement will provide more options for minor offenses committed, rather than simply arresting and booking the teenage suspects.

“For instance, if you commit a larceny you may go to review board and have to make restitution. If you’re involved in criminal mischief you may be ordered to clean up vandalism or repair it,” Corbett said.

Of course, major offenses will still hold criminal penalties, but providing a second chance to those deserving made sense to people we spoke to Monday.

“If they do find another way to punish them, that would be good. They’re still young, still in that stage of being hard-headed,” said Alba Cuebas of Waterbury.

“You can change, and you can do better. You can show people you’re doing better,” said Waterbury student Justin Medina.

On the juvenile review board, they hope to have educators, community members and a judge to reduce the incidents.

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