The Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law (MCJPAL) at the University of Maine School of Law was established in June 2017 with a grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation to support Juvenile Justice Clinic students and faculty in their policy work. Through on-going coordination of and collaboration with partners and stakeholders, the MCJPAL works to advance efforts to reduce harm to and increase positive outcomes for current and former system-involved Maine youth. In this coordinating role, the MCJPAL provides the platform for the Juvenile Justice Reform Work Group, a core group of juvenile justice professionals and advocates who work to identify and examine juvenile justice policies, programs, and practices designed to reduce inappropriate detention and confinement and increase fairness in the juvenile justice system. The MCJPAL is also the Maine member of the National Juvenile Justice Network.
New Juvenile Justice Legislative Update
October 2019 – Students from the Juvenile Justice Clinic in collaboration with the MCJPAL Juvenile Justice Reform Work Group and the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers created a summary of legislation relating to juvenile justice reform that was either enacted by or carried over from the first regular session of the 129th Legislature. The second regular session of the 129th Legislature will convene in January 2020. Read the summary.
Task force created to help transform juvenile justice in Maine
May 2019 – MCJPAL will co-chair a newly formed task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and develop recommendations for continuum of care for system-involved youth and those at risk for becoming involved in the justice system. Established through a collaborative effort between Maine legislators, the Department of Corrections, and the state Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, the task force will meet regularly over the next 9 months with the goal of producing a final report of findings and recommendations early next year. Read the announcement.
Learn more about the work of the Task Force at: www.mainejjtaskforce.org.
Place Matters: Aligning Investments in a Community-Based Continuum of Care for Maine Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
On March 6, 2019, MCJPAL and the University of Southern Maine’s Justice Policy Program released, Place Matters: Aligning Investments in a Community-Based Continuum of Care for Maine Youth Transitioning to Adulthood, which provides a continuum care model for Maine as well as several recommendations for policymakers. The report is the latest in this collaboration following the 2017 summit and 2018 report described below. Download the full report.
2019 Student Impact Summit
On March 14, 2019, Whitney Lallas ’19 and Reginald Parson ’19 presented on their project, “Juvenile Justice Reform: Restitution Reconsidered,” during Maine Law’s annual Student Impact Summit. When determining a disposition for juveniles, the court has the option to order a juvenile to pay restitution. However, juveniles face a number of challenges that prevent them from satisfying their restitution obligation. In light of these challenges, a bill was submitted to the Maine Legislature, with the hopes of providing better outcomes for system-involved youth. A video of their presentation is available on Maine Law’s YouTube Channel.
There was also a panel on this topic at the 2019 Student Impact Summit. A video recording of the panel presentation is available on Maine Law’s YouTube channel.
Youth Justice in Maine: Imagining a New Future
On November 17, 2017, MCJPAL and the University of Southern Maine’s Justice Policy Program hosted a juvenile justice summit, Youth Justice in Maine: Imagining a New Future. This event convened more than 100 national and local experts, juvenile justice practitioners, and youth voices, all of whom are committed to improving youth justice in Maine. In January, the MCJPAL and Muskie’s Juvenile Justice Program released a summary of the summit with recommendations for next steps in reforming Maine’s juvenile justice system. Read the full report.
Juvenile Record Informational Brochure
Following up on the March 2017 release of Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine, which found widespread misinformation about what it means to have a juvenile record in Maine, this new resource answers some of the most frequently asked questions. MCJPAL worked with members of the Juvenile Justice Reform Work Group, the Department of Corrections, the Juvenile Justice Program of the USM Muskie School of Public Service, and other key stakeholders to develop the resource.
To learn more about the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law, follow the MCJPAL on Facebook or subscribe to the Youth Justice in Maine monthly newsletter.
Jill Ward, Project Manager