Putting kids behind bars a failed model that does not help young people thrive and become contributing members of society. Community-based treatment programs closer to home are the best option for struggling children and for their communities. Recent revelations about conditions at Maine's youth prison, Long Creek Youth Development Center, underscore the need for change.
An 11-year-old boy with mental illness was brutally beaten by guards at Long Creek Youth Development Center. Despite the absence of any physical threat, the guards entered his cell and bashed his face against a metal bed frame, knocking out his front teeth. After the attack, they didn't take him to the dentist for six days, at which point it was too late to save his teeth.
This civil rights case challenges the use of excessive force, deliberately indifferent medical care, and statutory violations against the boy, referred to in the case as A.I.
A teenager is asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to overturn his commitment to Long Creek Youth Development Center, the state's youth prison. The teenager, referred to in court documents as J.R., was sentenced to nearly 18 months at Long Creek for a series of misdemeanor offenses. The case challenges the premise that prison is an appropriate punishment for youth with low-level offenses. The ACLU of Maine filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of J.R.
Long Creek Youth Development Center Conditions Assessment Narrative Report
A report from the Children's Center for Law and Policy finding that Long Creek is chronically understaffed and ill-equipped to handle the serious mental health needs of young residents.
Youth Justice in Maine: Imagine a New Future
A white paper from the Justice Policy Program at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service, calling for a shift away from reliance on large facilities like Long Creek Youth Development Center and towards a system of in-home, community based, and evidence based out of home services for youth.
Long Creek Board of Visitors 2016 Annual Report
The annual report from the oversight body, appointed by the governor, finding a persistent pattern of self-harm among children held at Long Creek.