Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

George Shaler accepts Douglas Yearwood National Publication Award for Statistical / Management at the National Forum on Criminal Justice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo of George Shaler accepting the Douglas Yearwood Award
2015 Maine Crime Victimization Survey Report Press Release Forum
Michee Jean, Youth Leader, Michael Sauschuck, Portland Police Chief, & Erica King, Cutler Institute at Portland's My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge Summit.
My Brother's Keeper 2015 Local Action Summit
Applied Leadership Network
Applied Leadership Network
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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

News & Events

The Maine Statistical Analysis Center hosted a press release forum for the 2015 Maine Crime Victimization Report on December 1, 2015.
Earlier this month, the USM Muskie School of Public Service co-hosted the 15th Biannual Adult & Juvenile Female Offenders Conference, the only professional conference focused exclusively on women and girls involved with the justice system.
This new report funded by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, and developed by the Maine Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) of the USM Muskie School of Public Service, provides public safety drug arrest trends and recidivism rates of drug offenders admitted to probation in Maine.
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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.

2015 Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine's Juvenile Justice System Report

A new report released by the Muskie School of Public Service reveals a racial bias towards minority youths in Maine's juvenile justice system.

"Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine's Juvenile Justice System" examines racial disparities in the system and provides recommendations on how to move toward racial equity. Robyn Dumont, Erica King and George Shaler of the Muskie School's Justice Policy Program authored the mixed-method report.

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2015 Maine Crime Victimization Survey Report

Findings for the 2015 Maine Crime Victimization Report, released on December 1, 2015, were discussed at a press release forum at the Muskie School of Public Service. This report highlights findings from telephone interviews conducted with 843 randomly selected Mainers on whether they had been a victim of criminal or unwanted behavior (e.g. violent crime, property crime, threats of violence, identity crime, and stalking) in the past 12 months. 

After the presentation a distinguished panel responded to the findings and offered comments.

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