Lawmakers get look at juvenile justice task force recommendations
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.