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Lawmakers get look at juvenile justice task force recommendations

(WABI)
Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 5:08 PM EST
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Lawmakers held a public hearing Wednesday on a bill aimed at addressing problems with Maine's juvenile justice system. It's the result of a task force formed last year to take a deep dive into the issue.

They say the biggest takeaway is there's a disproportionate amount of youth at Long Creek Youth Development Center who should be in community-based programs instead.

The bill asks for $2.5 million for the Department of Corrections to create and expand those programs.

It also asks for $1 million for DHHS to help teenagers with substance abuse and mental health issues.

"The majority of youth that are there are detained for a fairly short period of time, but those that stay for over 30 days, 75% of those are waiting placement in the community,' said Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, co-chair of the task force. "The only reason they're there is because they're waiting for a community-based placement."

We're told right now there are about 50 people at Long Creek.

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