Due Process: Inside Maine’s County Courthouses
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Seven months ago, The Maine Monitor set out to determine whether Maine’s county court system was fair and consistent from one part of the state to another. Would someone convicted of a crime in Aroostook County get the same sentence as someone in York County? What seemed like a simple question turned out to be complicated by a lack of consistent data, elected district attorneys with different approaches to justice and programs that have proven to be successful for some but unavailable to others.
We examine the criminal justice system at a time when there’s appetite for major change. With a low crime rate and relatively few violent crimes, Maine could become a place for innovation when it comes to the treatment of those with mental illness, substance use disorder or trauma that sometimes leads to crime. Our series looks at the system – successes and failures – to test whether defendants and victims can rely on it to give them due process.
Bail reform and making substance use disorder treatment available to Maine’s incarcerated population are among 15 criminal justice bills to be considered this legislative session.
A lack of consistent data, district attorneys with differing agendas and inconsistencies with services offered around the state have many pushing for reforms to Maine’s court system.
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