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 ongoing 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 practitioner 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.

Community Reintegration Collaboration

In partnership with the University of Southern Maine’s Place Matters project and the Department of Corrections, MCJPL developed, supports, and co-facilitates Regional Community Care Teams designed to help individual system-involved youth and their families and to inform broader system change and investment in a community-based continuum of care. MCJPAL co-facilitates the Region One Regional Care Team which meets monthly. A variety of support materials and guidance have been co-created to support the project, including a project description, meeting guidance, and referral form. MCJPL and USM have co-authored a report on the first year of the project, including youth and system outcomes, which was released in December 2021.

2021 Changes to the Maine Juvenile Code

MCJPAL and the Juvenile Justice Clinic partnered with the Maine Prosecutors Association and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group to develop and host a half-day training on October 1, 2021 to educate stakeholders on the changes to the Juvenile Code enacted in the first session of the 130th Legislature. Below is video from the training plenary and related resources.

Juvenile Record Information Brochure

Updated in January 2022: MCJPAL and the Juvenile Justice Clinic updated this important resource for youth, families and other system stakeholders to explain what it means to have a juvenile record in Maine.

Download “Know the Facts: What does it mean to have a Juvenile Record in Maine?”




Juvenile Justice Task Force and System Assessment

Augusta, MaineThe Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP), the organization tasked with conducting a statewide assessment of Maine’s juvenile justice system, presented its final report of findings and recommendations to the Maine Juvenile Justice Assessment and Reinvestment Task Force in February 2020. Since the report was released, several recommendations have been acted upon and an update on Maine’s progress was presented by the CCLP at the October 2021 meeting of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. Read more about the work of the Task Force, the Final Report and the Assessment Update here.

Place Matters Publications

MCJPAL and the University of Southern Maine’s Justice Policy Program have partnered on several publications in the Place Matters series around a community-based continuum of care for transition-aged youth and youth impacted by the justice system.

Greater Good Podcast

November 2019 – Professor Christopher Northrop, Jill Ward, and Jonathan Ruterbories were recently guests on the Greater Good Podcast to discuss juvenile justice and the treatment of children who come in conflict with the law. They also discussed how modern science about youth brain development is influencing juvenile law and policy and the critical factors that help produce positive outcomes for youth in crisis. You can listen to the two episodes below:

2019 Student Impact Summit

Juvenile Justice Reform: Restitution ReconsideredOn 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.


Learn More

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, Director