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Detainees go on rampage in state’s juvenile detention center

October 18, 2021 GMT

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Detainees broke windows and tore apart classrooms, offices and living spaces at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, prompting a call for help from local police, officials said Monday.

It was bad enough that the South Portland Police Department officers were called to assist Sunday evening. Officers took up positions outside the facility for six hours from Sunday evening to early Monday.

A small group of “high-risk” juveniles was responsible for the latest round of destruction, but there were no injuries, said Anna Black, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Corrections. No weapons were used to quell the disturbance, she said.

The same group was involved in recent altercations with staff that caused more than $100,000 worth of damage, she said.

“The MDOC will work with internal investigators and the district attorney to identify potential charges for these juvenile offenders,” she said.

The unrest accompanies a near doubling of the number of detainees this month at the facility. There are currently about 40 detainees.

Along with the increase in population, more of the juvenile detainees are facing serious charges like arson, criminal threatening, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, officials said.

The state’s only youth detention center has been subject of a debate over its future. Some lawmakers want to close it.

Last month, the Department of Corrections announced that three senior officials left or were reassigned because of ongoing problems at the Long Creek Youth Development Center.