MCJPAL co-chairing task force on juvenile justice system

The Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law (MCJPAL) at the University of Maine School of Law is the co-chair of a new task force to examine the state’s juvenile justice system and develop recommendations for a 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 has the goal of producing a final report of findings and recommendations in early 2020.

Chaired by Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, Department of Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty, and Jill Ward of MCJPAL, the task force brings together state government leaders from multiple agencies, legislators, the Judiciary branch, practitioners, and impacted communities. The task force will work with national experts to assess the efficacy of the current system and develop recommendations to improve outcomes for system-involved youth.

The group will study ways Maine can develop a more comprehensive, coordinated continuum of care that more effectively targets resources to meet individual needs in ways that support families and strengthen communities.

The work of the task force will be guided by LD 1108, legislation introduced by Brennan, and previous work of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.


The Maine Center for Juvenile Policy and Law at Maine 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, 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, 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.