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Muskie School researcher suggests changes to juvenile justice system

Mara Sanchez, a researcher at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, told state legislators recently that changes to the juvenile justice system might save money and better serve communities.

The work done at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland would be cheaper and more effective if it were done in community-based programs, diverting children away from incarceration and into local programs to help them and their families, Sanchez told legislators in a recent hearing.

She was joined by Jill M. Ward, a project manager at the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law at the University of Maine School of Law.

“It’s not about Long Creek or DHHS or the Department of Corrections,” Ward told legislators. “It’s about what are our responses to kids, and what are the outcomes.”

The story was reported by Matt Bryne of the Portland Press Herald.