The biblical imperative for reforming Long Creek

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Carroll Conley is the executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

The Legislature and Mills administration have been grappling in recent years with the best way to reform Maine’s juvenile corrections system. While the discussions and planning regarding what type of secure confinement is needed for Maine youth, everyone involved seems to agree on one point — most kids do not need incarceration; they need access to services in their community to help them find the right path forward.

According to the 2020 Maine Juvenile Justice Systems Assessment commissioned by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, 53 percent of youth detained at the Long Creek Youth Development Center were detained in order to “provide care,” rather than because they posed a risk to themselves or to public safety. In 70 percent of cases where youth were held for more than 30 days, they were held because they were awaiting a placement or community-based programming.

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