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Maine Corrections Commissioner Accelerates Timeline To Find Alternative Housing For Most Long Creek Youth

Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty told members of the legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Friday that he'll accelerate the timeline for finding alternative housing for most youth in the Department's care.

Liberty had been tasked with completing that goal in February of next year. But after a recent series of violent incidents at the Long Creek Correctional Center, Liberty says he's moving the timetable up by three months. He says he's looking for housing in three regions of the state that meet the following criteria:

"Smaller, secure, provide public safety, provide the supports and wrap around services that the youth deserve and will reduce recidivism moving forward," Liberty said.

As advocates for incarcerated youth and some lawmakers continue their call for the closure of the state's only youth prison, Liberty maintains that there will always be a need for secure confinement and programming for youth who have committed serious crimes.

Liberty was invited to address the committee following a report from Disability Rights Maine that found a dangerous type of restraint had been used to subdue youth at Long Creek who were involved in the violence.