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Cutler, Justice Policy, MSAC


The Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) Division of Juvenile Services (DJS) collaborates with the Muskie School of Public Service in a state‐university partnership to analyze juvenile recidivism rates. DJS measures juvenile justice outcomes to guide policy and program development geared toward recidivism reduction. Reduction of youth recidivism in Maine increases public safety.

Recidivism in this report is defined as a re‐adjudication (juvenile system) or conviction (adult system) for a new offense committed by a youth in Maine within three years after release from DJS supervision. This report measures DJS impact on youth who have been released from DJS supervision by examining rates of recidivism.

The number of youth discharged from supervision decreased 9.0% between 2006 and 2009, from 807 to 734. This is consistent with the number of youth entering supervision annually, which decreased 15.8% between 2006 and 2008, from 1,480 to 1,2461. Among key findings are:

  • Youth in this study were primarily white boys, ages 15‐17, adjudicated for a misdemeanor, and adjudicated for one offense.
  • Most youth spent one year or less under supervision.
  • At discharge from supervision of the MDOC, 44.2% of youth were age 18 or older.
  • One year recidivism rates averaged 20.5% between 2006 and 2009.
  • Almost one quarter (23.4%) of youth who recidivated did so within the first three months after discharge, 35.5% recidivated within six months, and 54.5% did so within one year.
  • Even after three years, most youth (64.1%) did not recidivate.
  • For almost 9 of every 10 youth, the recidivating offense was of lesser or equal severity than the first offense.
  • Three year recidivism rates varied by population and offense characteristics. The youngest youth and those who were first adjudicated for multiple offenses recidivated at the highest rates.
  • Youth classified as high risk recidivated at higher rates than other youth, 27.7% compared to 13.6%.


This report is available on the Maine Statistical Analysis Center Website at:

Funding Organization

Funding provided by the Maine Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Services.



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