juvenile justice

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A state task force has been formed to address juvenile justice issues in Maine. We will learn about efforts to eliminate youth incarceration, discuss Long Creek, and other issues about dealing with young people and criminal justice.

Maine corrections officials who are considering reforms to the state's juvenile justice system have hired a Washington, D.C.-based juvenile justice policy group.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

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.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A Maine attorney says her 13-year-old client is being illegally detained at Long Creek Youth Development Center.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public - File

Juvenile justice advocates say kids in Maine are serving longer sentences in prison for petty, non-violent offenses than adults who commit misdemeanors do. And they say the time kids spend in detention comes at a high financial cost and result in poor and even traumatic outcomes.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Maine's Chief Justice Leigh Saufley joined civil rights and children's advocates, lawmakers and members of Gov. Janet Mills' cabinet for the first meeting of a newly-created task force to examine Maine's juvenile justice system. 

A state-funded halfway house for young men leaving the juvenile detention facility in South Portland is scheduled to open in March.

The Portland residence is designed to house six young men between the ages of 18 and 21 as they make the transition from the Long Creek Youth Development Center into the community. The nonprofit Opportunity Alliance will run the program, which is funded by the Department of Corrections.

Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland
BA Bartlett / panoramio.com

Echoing the findings shared at a juvenile justice summit in Maine last Fall, the Muskie School of Public Service and the University of Maine School of Law are calling for a shift away from youth prisons like Long Creek in South Portland to non-residential community-based programs and services. And they’ve produced a report that suggests the transition will save money and produce better outcomes for kids.