Democrats in Connecticut insist that there is no crime wave in the state and that concerns about crime are Republican contrivances. But it's nice that the state's minority party is pressing any issues at all, and Connecticut lately has had some criminal atrocities that really should be learned from, especially some involving juveniles.
One of those atrocities unfolded last week in Manchester, when a 14-year-old boy was charged with the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl last June. News reports about the arrest discovered that state law prohibits the boy from being tried in open court and, if he is convicted, will prohibit him from being sentenced to anything more severe than 2½ years of probation, regardless of whether he is a predatory maniac or a great kid who made what the social workers may get away with calling a "mistake."
Whatever the boy is, the secrecy of court for murder defendants under 15 years old will prevent the public from ever finding out.
Few teenagers read newspapers or pay attention to broadcast news, but they do talk to each other and so news can spread among them all the same. Thanks to the Manchester case, they now may perceive that in Connecticut they are pretty much free to rape and murder until they turn 15 – may perceive that their exemption from criminal responsibility for car thefts, which they already well understand and which recently has become controversial, is actually the least of the scandal of juvenile justice here.
A spokeswoman for the social work school of thought, Illiana Pujols of the Connecticut Justice Alliance, says the state's adult justice system isn't made to serve children. But in its glorious secrecy, unaccountability, and exemption of young offenders from responsibility even for atrocities, is the state's juvenile justice system made to serve the public?
* * *
YALE RESCUES NEW HAVEN: Yale University, whose ownership of so much property in New Haven takes much of it off the city's property tax rolls, has a new six-year deal with the city. The university will increase its annual voluntary payment to the city from the current $13.2 million to $23 million, leading to total payments of more than $135 million by the arrangement's conclusion.
That kind of money could cover much of the city's underfunding of its pension programs and pay lots of raises, though whether it does much for the city itself must remain to be seen.
Mayor Justin Elicker and city council members are thrilled by the deal, since the university, as a nonprofit corporation, isn't legally required to pay taxes on its noncommercial property. But the deal really isn't so generous.
For Yale already was suffering an embarrassment of riches, heightened by the recent stock market boom, which has boosted the university's endowment to $42 billion. The endowment has been managed extraordinarily well, so well that the joke is that Yale is actually a hedge fund disguised as a university. Yale is so wealthy that, as National Review noted the other day, it can afford to have more employees (nearly 17,000) than students (about 12,000).
But then the university's work is not just to teach but to be constantly striking politically correct poses to appease the political left that dominates it. Those poses now will be facilitated by a new city undertaking called the Center for Inclusive Growth, to which Yale will contribute $5 million over the next six years. The center may provide patronage jobs for growing still more political correctness in New Haven.
* * *
BONANZA FOR EDUCATORS: U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, briefly Connecticut's education commissioner, boasted last week of another big round of student loan forgiveness – $2 billion for 33,000 borrowers – through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, for which teachers and employees of nonprofits are eligible.
Some of the debtors are indeed hard-pressed but as with most student loan debt the borrowers are not the real beneficiaries of loan forgiveness. Student loan debt becomes burdensome when the education for which the debt was incurred cannot qualify the borrower for a job that pays enough both to support him and repay the debt.
That is, the real beneficiaries of student loans are employees of higher education, which is overvalued and yet made still more expensive by those loans.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.