Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland is pictured on Nov. 17, 2016. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Supporting LD 756 would allow our great state of Maine to take a giant step forward in the treatment and rehabilitation of Maine’s youth rather than ongoing incarceration. Allowing for the treatment of social, emotional, and behavioral needs allows Maine youth and families opportunities to break recidivism rates and cycles.

Completing individual comprehensive needs assessments on youth and their families will allow for a better sense of identified needs in the home and community, allow providers to collaborate with community supports and services to address gaps in services, and support the development of resources to meet the gaps. A report from the Center for Children’s Law and Policy found that a large number of incarcerated youth had had a prior history of psychiatric admissions, residential stays, and more than half had received some form of behavioral health service before incarceration.

Long Creek Youth Development Center is not where these youth should be and our juvenile justice department is not equipped to treat these needs. We can do better to strengthen and support Maine youth, families and communities by supporting LD 756.

Rebecca Lachance

New Gloucester