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PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 


The ground rules seem to have been set concerning the sexual assault allegations against nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: we will take you to a state where more than 60 thousand kids are chronically absent; plus the rural digital divide a two-fold problem for Kentucky.

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Maine Advocates Agree with New Report: Youth Prisons Aren't Fit for Kids

A new report says there will be better outcomes for juvenile offenders in Maine and the nation through alternative community-based programs. (Maine Inside Out)
A new report says there will be better outcomes for juvenile offenders in Maine and the nation through alternative community-based programs. (Maine Inside Out)
October 24, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Kids should not be kept behind bars - that's the message of a new report examining the ineffectiveness of youth prisons in Maine and around the country.

The research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation pulled together evidence of the failure of youth correctional facilities and recommended that they all be closed. Joseph Jackson, coordinator at the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Program, said these prisons do not improve long-term outcomes for youths, even though Maine is directing large amounts of money to young people behind bars.

"The result of reducing recidivism and helping these young people transition back into society, we're seeing that the numbers are the same, regardless of the whether they are juvenile or adults,” Jackson said, "even though we're pouring more money into the system."

Jackson said he particularly agrees with the finding that young offenders will see better outcomes if they are sent to community-based and family-centered programs instead of being incarcerated at the Long Creek Youth Center - the state's only remaining juvenile detention facility.

Casey Foundation president and CEO Patrick McCarthy noted that there is an enormous financial toll when young people are imprisoned. While costs vary state to state, on average, states pay about $90,000 a year for every youth in a juvenile facility.

"The money that we are wasting now on these incredibly expensive as well as ineffective institutions - we've got to reinvest that money in things that work,” McCarthy said. "We don't have any magic solutions for juvenile crime but we have many programs that have evidence of success that we need to invest our dollars in."

The report noted that young pepople of color were incarcerated in the state at rates much higher than their very small proportion of Maine's population. It also found that there is evidence, though not proof, of violence at Long Creek Youth Center since 2011.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME