Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

About Justice Policy

The Justice Policy Program (JPP) at the Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy informs policy development and practice in civil, criminal, and social justice systems in Maine and nationally. Our applied research, training, and technical assistance builds capacity and improves community health and public safety.

Justice Policy People

Areas of Focus


Criminal Justice
The Justice Policy Program engages with local and national organizations to provide training, technical assistance and program evaluation services aimed at quality implementation of data driven and evidence based practices. Contact Erica King for more information.


Juvenile Justice
The Justice Policy Program works with partners across the juvenile justice system to provide technical assistance, evaluation and performance measurement to ensure all youth experience a fair, equitable and responsive juvenile justice system across race, gender, ethnicity, geography and offense. Contact Erica King for more information


ALN pictureOrganizational Improvement
We assist agencies to measure and monitor ongoing quality improvements in agency practices and services. We develop customer satisfaction surveys, peer review tools, outcome measures and program evaluation processes as part of a larger agency CQI framework. Contact George Shaler for more information.


Statistical Analysis Center
The Maine Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) informs policy development and improvement of practice in Maine's criminal and juvenile justice systems.  SAC conducts applied research, evaluates programs and new initiatives, and provides technical assistance, consultation and organizational development services. Contact George Shaler for more information.


Victims of Crime
We enhance the professional practice of Victim Advocates in all disciplines within the victim-of-crime field – domestic violence, sexual assault, prosecution, law enforcement, Department of Corrections, compensation, and Federal Crime Units. Our services include developing/delivering foundational and advanced training, ongoing technical assistance, and disseminating resources and supportive materials.  Contact person: Maureen Baker for more information.


Violence against Women and Families
Through our focus on Violence Against Women and Families we engage in policy analysis, evaluation, technical assistance, critical review of research, and public service that seek to support efforts to end domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, trafficking in persons, and dating violence and to promote justice and restoration for survivors of these crimes. Contact: Elisabeth Snell for more information.


Justice Policy Publications

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

New Chartbook on the Use of Maine's Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Long Term Services and Supports Cover page image

Long term services and supports (LTSS) are a vital lifeline for the thousands of Maine adults who need them, and they account for a significant portion of the state's Medicaid (MaineCare) budget.This Chartbook prepared by the research staff at the USM Muskie School, provides information on all Maine adults who use LTSS: older adults; adults with physical disabilities; adults with intellectual disabilities/autism spectrum disorder or other related conditions; and adults with acquired brain injury.

The information provided in this Chartbook about the demographic trends that impact Maine's service system as well as data on the typical MaineCare service utilization and expenditures of different LTSS populations will inform the discussion among policymakers, providers, consumers, and advocates as they work together to ensure that Maine’s system of LTSS meets the needs of all its citizens.

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