Thursday, February 1, 2024

This NYT story about the youth criminal justice system in Maine screams "rural"

Callie Ferguson's story in the New York Times, "'Shame on Us':  How Maine Struggles to Handle Troubled Youth" uses the word "rural" only once, but the facts and circumstances are signaling rural, in particular the struggle to deliver services in rural places.  Clearly implicated in the problems are rural deficits in the services necessary to support and rehabilitate youth.  Here's a key quote:  

In Maine’s rural northernmost county, for example, certain intensive services that help steer adolescents from entering the justice system are not offered. The wait-list for another behavioral health program can reach 200 days. Getting in to see a therapist can take a year.

And here's a big picture comment: 

“The heartbreak of Maine,” said Lindsay Rosenthal, a criminal justice policy expert, “is that they have done so much on juvenile legal system reform to keep kids out of the system. Yet there just hasn’t been any action on building out the community-based continuum of care recently, or not enough action.”

This entire story is worth a read, especially for those who care deeply about young people.

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