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CJTS Workers Speak Out

Front-line employees at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and Pueblo Unit in Middletown stood together to share their daily successes and frustrations, and remind the public that collectively, they have had an extraordinarily positive influence on troubled youth.

During a press briefing held Oct. 1 at Council 4, CJTS/Pueblo workers said the politicized nature of restraint videos recently released by the Office of the Child Advocate has unfairly inflamed public opinion to the detriment of the facility’s mission, its employees and the youth population.

Said Suzanne Borner, a CJTS teacher and members of CSEA/SEUI Local 2001:

“The youth here on our beautiful campus are offered a comprehensive array of critical and rehabilitative services they will not receive at Connecticut’s one and only youth prison, Manson Youth Institute. But Manson will be precisely where many of our residents will end up if CJTS and its services are shut down.”

“The fact remains that our residents are troubled young people who desperately need compassion, respect, guidance and assistance. We are the ones who provide that,” added Peter Maylor, another youth service officer and member of Local 2663.

CJTS workers handed out a list of the successes and accomplishments they have seen, and helped to facilitate, over the years.

Said George Register, a youth service officer and member of AFSCME Local 2663:

“We are striving to do the best we can. We’ve made enormous progress in the last few years, and we will continue to do so. Are we perfect? No. Will we ever be? Of course not. But we are a transparent facility with absolutely nothing to hide.”

L-R: Paula Dillon, Peter Maylor, George Register and Suzanne Borner.

Paula Dillon, also a teacher and CSEA member, praised the youth service officers. “Our YSOs are the ones who deal with the full spectrum of highly-charged emotions and unpredictable behaviors exhibited by our troubled residents, despite all the hazards that go along with that,” Dillon said. “They are the ones who build the most solid relationships with our youth and have the most influence on helping them to change. They keep all of us safe.”

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