Decision to Close Maine Youth Prison a Victory for State’s Kids, Families, Moms Leader Says
“We commend state legislators in Maine for their vote to close Long Creek Youth Development Center – a youth prison – within two years, and instead invest the funds in community-based alternatives. We look forward to Gov. Mills signing the legislation into law. Like every state and our federal government, Maine should invest in children, not prisons.
“Maine spends $250,000 per year to incarcerate a child and just $13,000 to send a child to school, and youth of color are grossly overrepresented at Long Creek.
It is a failed institution and incarcerating children is a failed practice.
We need a new model of youth justice that promotes healing for individuals and communities.
“Long Creek is just part of the problem. In the United States today, nearly 60,000 youth under age 18 are incarcerated in jails or prisons and approximately 10,000 who were tried as adults are housed in adult facilities. We incarcerate more young people than any other country. Youth prisons are ineffective and expensive and do less to improve community safety than supporting young people with the services and opportunities they need. We need a continuum of community-based alternatives to incarceration for all our kids.”