Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Maine’s “Purposes and  construction” section was last amended effective 1997.  It retains some parens patriae language similar to the Standard Juvenile Court Act (1959), due process protections, and family preservation elements of the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) were noted. Few states still directly use terms such as “punishment” for (delinquent) juvenile “crimes” or “punitive consequences for serious criminal behavior” as described in Maine.  One element mentions that when removed from parental custody, the necessary treatment, care, guidance and discipline to assist that juvenile in becoming a responsible and productive member of society will be secured, which is reminiscent of BARJ.

15 ME ST §3002

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the juvenile court intake officer.

In Maine, in lieu of arrest, law enforcement can divert the matter to a community resolution team or can refer the matter to a Juvenile Community Corrections Officer (JPO) for court intervention related to delinquency allegations. Upon arrest by law enforcement, the officer must notify the JPO within 2 hours if detention is requested, or within 12 hours when it is believed the child does not need secure detention but is in need of court intervention. The JPO will make the decision to release, conditionally release, or continue detention, pending a detention hearing held within 48 hours.

Except for homicides and major crimes that are under original jurisdiction of (adult) criminal court, the Juvenile Community Corrections officer (JPO) conducts a preliminary investigation to screen complaints and determines whether to take no further action and refer the family to voluntary services without ongoing supervision, implement an informal adjustment agreement, or that a petition should be filed. Informal adjustment agreements require that the facts establish prima facie jurisdiction and can last up to 6 months. The agreement must contain consent of the juvenile and parents, and conditions can include a restitution contract with the victim of the crime, performance of community service, etc. When the JPO decides not to request the DA file a petition, the JPO must notify the DA, the complainant, law enforcement officer, and victim, who may ask the DA to review the matter. JPO must also notify the secretary of state of certain violations involving illegal drug or alcohol transport for a 30 day driver's license suspension even when petitions are not filed. The DA makes the final decision as to whether to file the petition, but must wait 30 days for an initial recommendation from the JPO.

Once a petition is filed, the court can defer disposition and impose requirements, specific conditional release requirements under supervision by the JPO after accepting admission of the juvenile meeting eligibility.

Pre-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In Maine, informal adjustment agreements can be monitored for up to 6 months, and the judge can defer dispositions and impose conditions with no time limit specified in statute.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In Maine, a court rule M.R. Crim. P. 43A (eff. 10/19/15) prohibits routine use of physical restraints, unless the court determines that the juvenile’s current or past behavior creates a (substantial) safety threat or risk of flight and no less restrictive alternatives are available. If use of restraints is ordered over the objection of the juvenile, findings of fact must be made on the record.

Competency, 2015

In Maine, the legal basis for juvenile competency is found in juvenile statute, which aligns with the Dusky standard. Statutory procedures include time lines, placements, treatments, and factors that the court must consider for the determination. Maine recognizes "chronological immaturity," which is a condition based on a juvenile's age and significant lack of developmental skills when the juvenile has no significant mental illness or mental retardation.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015

Does not register

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

Continue reading »


Tell us what you think of JJGPS. Questions, feedback, or other comments are welcomed.

Questions or feedback »

Follow on Twitter »