ACLU of Maine Calls for Closure of Long Creek Youth Prison

PORTLAND – The ACLU of Maine today called for the closure of the Long Creek Youth Development Center, citing significant and ongoing problems revealed during a review of the facility by the Children’s Center for Law and Policy.

“Long Creek is failing Maine children and needs to be closed,” said Alison Beyea, the executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “The report released today demonstrates the ongoing and systemic problems at Long Creek and an urgent need for action. Children are being warehoused in a violent and unsafe facility, often far away from home and community support.”

The report found:

  • Terrible stories of abuse by staff against residents and documents resident-on-resident violence;

  • Children suffering from pervasive, severe mental illness do not get and cannot get the treatment they need;

  • Inappropriate use of force;

  • Failure to provide legally mandated education and special education services; and

  • An unsafe environment for the children.

“Maine is failing these kids, some of whom are as young as 13 years old. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education have let them down and the Department of Corrections can’t keep them safe. The stories of violence and abuse are too much to bear,” Beyea said. “Community-based treatment closer to home is the best for struggling kids and for their communities. Locking kids up at Long Creek is a failed model and goes against everything science tells us that children need for appropriate development. This has gone on too long.”