SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) – A report from the Center for Children’s Law and Policy details the widespread problems at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, resulting in numerous incidents of violence among residents over the summer.
The report, which was commissioned by the Maine Department of Corrections, outlined 10 factors leading to violence and conflict in the facility, including overzealous staff behavior, overly strict disciplinary system, use of force policies. unclear and a lack of involvement of health clinicians in conflict situations.
The report says staff members were too harsh in punishing large groups of residents for incidents they were not part of.
“The practice of group punishment by staff – holding everyone accountable for someone’s actions – is counterproductive,” the report read. “Bedtime is too early for teens and, occurring when staff resources are at a premium, is a constant source of friction.”
The report also indicates that the institution’s disciplinary system provides little incentive for residents to demonstrate good behavior.
“The MDOC should overhaul the behavior management level system and the grievance system,” the report read. “The behavior management system is heavily rules and sanctions oriented with little attention to the rewards for positive behavior.”
The MDOC commissioner says the results come as no surprise.
“Their findings match many of our own, including the importance of promoting a healthy environment for young people,” MDOC Commissioner Randall Liberty said. “The CCLP assessment reaffirms the importance of the actions we have taken at Long Creek since the incidents, including prioritizing social outings, adding more dedicated staff, and improving staff capacity to maintain an environment. therapeutic. “
Other issues raised in the report include staff shortages, faulty infrastructure and children’s behavior, caused in large part by boredom.
The full report can be read here.
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