Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jan 2001
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2001, New Haven Register
Contact:  40 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT   06511
Fax: 203-865-7894
Author: Gregory B. Hladky


HARTFORD - Connecticut is getting a $100,000 grant from a national 
anti-crime group for a campaign to ensure that state agencies are focused 
on prevention policies designed to help kids before they get in trouble 
with the law.

The grant to Connecticut is one of only six being given out to states 
around the nation by the National Crime Prevention Council for the purpose 
of promoting prevention programs "as the policy of choice for reducing 
crime, violence and drug abuse."

John Calhoun, president of the national council, said more cities and 
states are recognizing that programs such as early childhood education, 
mentoring, addiction services and after-school athletics or music can be 
effective methods for cutting crime.

The new grant was recently announced at a state Capitol news conference.

Deputy House Majority Leader John S. Martinez, D-New Haven, said the grant 
will be used to help the state "tie together a system that will benefit 
children" by coordinating and emphasizing crime prevention programs in all 
state agencies.

"Here in this state, we've been doing a great job (on crime prevention 
programs) with a little money," said Martinez, who is one of the leaders of 
the effort to secure the national grant and to focus on prevention programs.

Martinez said the grant would allow the state "to look at how we can do a 
better job in connecting the dots" between various agencies and programs.

Gov. John G. Rowland said he fully believes the estimates that for every 
dollar government invests in crime prevention programs it can save from $7 
to $14 in costs later for incarceration and care for the addicted and 
mentally ill.

But Rowland, who has been issuing dire warnings lately that the state may 
need to cut $500 million from existing spending to stay under Connecticut's 
mandated spending cap, was wary when asked how much he would propose in new 
funding for prevention programs.

"We have to work within the spending cap," said Rowland.

"We're going to put the money where it's needed… and we're going to 
continue funding the programs that we have to ... It's going to take some 
time and we have to work within our budget constraints."

Rowland also suggested that funding for such prevention programs might be 
obtained by switching state money away from other programs that aren't as 
effective in reducing crime.

"We can't fit any more people in our prisons… Maybe we ought to think about 
alternative sentencing ... (and) restructuring our priorities," Rowland said.

State Correction Commissioner John J. Armstrong of West Haven said his 
experience is that almost all the people in Connecticut prisons have the 
same kind of background: broken families, problems in school, physical or 
mental abuse as children, parents who were addicted or were in prison 

"There is no mystery about what happens to these young people and what 
brings them in through my doors," said Armstrong, who explained that his 24 
years in the correction system has made him a devoted advocate of 
prevention programs.
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