Maine needs to help youth in the juvenile corrections system thrive while being both safe and accountable, says Erica King, a policy associate at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.
King described her opinion in a column published in the Bangor Daily News.
She also talked about her father, Eric Hanson, who had served as the founding superintendent of Mountain View Youth Development Center, located north of Bangor.
“While we butted heads on a number of things over the years, we found common ground in our approach to justice,” King wrote.
Maine’s system needs an honest reappraisal, she said.
“As one of the oldest, poorest, whitest states, Maine has fewer youth in overall population to contribute to needed economic development,” she wrote. “Crime is at an all-time low. We have fewer than 53 kids in a facility designed for almost triple that. We need to be honest about how few of the remaining youth are deep threats to public safety and how complex and intersectional their needs are, compared to the capacity we have built for them.”