After reviewing the challenges and problematic trends facing the Maine criminal justice system in 2019, this report describes the analysis, policy revisions, and programs that resulted from Maine’s request for and implementation of technical assistance under the Justice Reinvestment Initiative developed and implemented with the resources provided by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew).
The following criminal justice challenges were the reason for and concerns of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative: 1) Lack of coordinated, quality behavioral health resources; 2) Increase of the number of women in the justice system; 3) Reliance on short sentences to prison and jail instead of probation; 4) Prison admissions driven by revocations from probation; and 5) Limited and inconsistent demographic data on offenders. In the summer of 2019, Maine leaders from all branches of Maine’s government requested support from BJA and Pew under a Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). Pew asked the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to provide technical assistance. The CSG Justice Center worked with Maine’s Interbranch Commission to Improve the Sentencing, Supervision, Management, and Incarceration of Prisoners (Commission) to develop proposed policies intended to improve access to and the availability of quality behavioral health resources; improve probation outcomes; and improve data collection, monitoring, and information sharing. The latter goal was intended to improve knowledge of trends in racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic disproportionalities in the criminal justice system. This report provides details on the proposed policy options. The status of state legislation to facilitate the implementation of these proposals is discussed. 2 figures