Monday, May 16, 2022

Play

A measure aims to streamline absentee voting in Ohio; a new report finds the use of low-value health services high given during the pandemic; authorities say Buffalo mass shooting was a racist hate crime.

Play

Officials deem a mass shooting racially motivated; Russia said to be down 30% of its land forces in Ukraine; and polling suggests swayable Republican voters are turning against Biden.

Play

Optimism is in the air as rural arts tourism spreads, a Rural Home Hospital program helps patients avoid long trips to the city, and farmer cooperatives want Congress to offer more grant money.

State Task Force Urges Maine to Phase Out Only Juvenile Facility

Play

Thursday, February 27, 2020   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A task force in Maine is recommending that the state's only juvenile-corrections facility be emptied within three years.

A group of legislators and juvenile justice experts has spent more than six months analyzing Long Creek, Maine's only juvenile facility. It also hired the Center for Children's Law and Policy, a D.C.-based nonprofit, to write a report examining the state's juvenile justice system.

This extensive report was presented at the statehouse this week, with recommendations for increasing community-based responses and limiting the number of confined youths.

Atlee Reilly is the managing attorney at Disability Rights Maine and a task force member. He was asked if he thinks Long Creek can be phased out within three years.

"Hopefully it won't take that long," says Reilly. "If a lot of these recommendations are followed, it will become even clearer than it is now that Maine does not need a facility of the type and size of Long Creek."

The facility can house more than 160 youth, but these days it usually has fifty to sixty young people there. This is also because Maine has diverted a lot of youths from Long Creek in the past decade.

The task force strongly recommends funding more community-based alternatives, including mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs.

According to the report, more than half of the young people at Long Creek are there simply because they need care and have nowhere else to go. The report also says that 73% of those detained at Long Creek for more than thirty days were just waiting for another placement or community-based programming.

Malory Shaughnessy is the executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Maine and a task force member. Shaughnessy says one of the biggest challenges is the low level of Medicaid reimbursement for behavioral-health treatment.

"We have empty beds in our residential treatment units because reimbursement rates have not kept up and they cannot afford to hire staff to staff those beds," says Shaughnessy.

She claims there are currently thirty-five to forty empty beds because of this workforce shortage.

Shaughnessy notes that reimbursement rates for behavioral health services from MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program, haven't changed since the minimum wage was $5 to $6 an hour. Now it's $12 an hour.

So, because these facilities can't afford to hire staff, Shaughnessy says too many youths are waiting for addiction and mental-health treatment.

"Youths that are prescribed 20 hours of intensive treatment for six months get maybe 10 hours or get none at all," says Shaughnessy. "Or we have over 500 kids at various times, of youth on waiting lists for this treatment."

Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, a co-chair of the juvenile justice task force, is sponsoring a bill that would phase out Long Creek and provide $3.5 million this year for community-based therapeutic services and other youth programs.

Right now, Maine spends about $17 million a year to operate Long Creek. Brennan's bill has a public hearing next week.


get more stories like this via email

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., addresses an Earth Day rally at the Arizona State Capitol. (EDF/Adriana Zehbrauskas, Moms Clean Air Force)

Environment

Since its inception, Earth Day has been an occasion to advocate for a cleaner planet - but in 2022, climate change is bringing a higher level of …


Health and Wellness

While many Americans have resumed normal lives after the past two years, the COVID pandemic has not gone away, especially if you have a pre-existing …

Social Issues

An initiative that would repeal Washington's capital-gains tax on the state's richest residents is struggling to gain traction. Initiative No…


Parts of Oregon are considered child-care deserts because of the lack of access to care. (Irina Schmidt/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Oregonians are casting their ballots for Tuesday's primary election. One issue affecting many voters is access to child care. Courtney Helstein…

Social Issues

Gov. Tom Wolf, lawmakers and community leaders are calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would send checks of up to $2,000 to …

In an effort to help people rebuild assets post-pandemic, AARP California is having free webinars on financial topics, such as how to avoid scams that target homeowners. (ajr_images/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

About half of Latinos either lost a job or had their wages cut during the pandemic,according to a recent survey from Pew. Now, AARP is offering a …

Social Issues

During the first year of the global pandemic, medical consumers in Colorado received more than one million low-value healthcare services - diagnostic …

Social Issues

May is mental health awareness month. As part of that, groups in Idaho are using HOPE Week to help kids in crisis and reduce the state's worrying …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021