Judge Rules That Mentally Incompetent Youth Will Remain At Long Creek Until Alternative Is Found

Jun 12, 2019

A Maine Supreme Court justice will allow a 13-year-old boy who has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial to remain at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland until alternative placement can be found.

The sign at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, seen in November of 2016.
Credit Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Sarah Branch is an attorney for the boy, identified as AI, who has been held at Long Creek since December. Branch had petitioned the Maine Supreme Court for habeas corpus or a determination that the boy's detention is illegal. The judge denied the request. Branch says AI's situation illustrates a serious deficiency in mental health services in Maine.

"Because Maine doesn't have a facility that can house individuals like my client, sort of the higher need individuals,based on the ruling and based on the law, he will remain at a correctional institution," Branch says.

Branch says AI has been accepted by a residential treatment program with a waiting list, which could mean a delay in his transfer of several more months.