Justice Reinvestment in Maine

In 2019, the CSG Justice Center embarked on a Justice Reinvestment approach in Maine to help state leaders identify and address the most pressing criminal justice system challenges.

Maine faces a number of pressing public safety challenges. Like other northeastern states, Maine has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, with an opioid overdose death rate that is among the highest in the nation. The opioid crisis has created substantial operational and resource challenges for both local and state justice and behavioral health systems in the state, exacerbating existing stress on those systems. Further, despite having the nation’s second-lowest incarceration rate and a steady decline in overall reported crime, Maine’s prison population has increased in recent years, particularly for women. Probation revocations account for more than 40 percent of prison admissions in Maine, which many state leaders attribute to a lack of community-based programming and resources for people with mental illnesses and substance addictions.

In the summer of 2019, Maine leaders requested and received support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) to utilize a Justice Reinvestment approach to address these challenges. Staff from The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center provided intensive technical assistance by collecting and analyzing data and helping develop appropriate policy options to contain corrections spending and increase public safety. The Justice Reinvestment effort was guided by the interbranch Commission on the Sentencing, Supervision, Incarceration and Management of Offenders.

[Justice Reinvestment] provides an opportunity to ensure that our laws and policies reflect the values we hold dear, at every decision point throughout the process, for a fairer justice system.
Maine Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross
House Chair, Maine Commission to Improve the Sentencing, Supervision, Management and Incarceration of Prisoners

Key Staff


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Carl Reynolds
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Research
Carl Reynolds helps manage and develop projects related to court initiatives, corrections, sentencing reform, and juvenile justice issues. Previously, Carl served as director of the Texas Office of Court Administration. From 1997 to 2005, he was general counsel for the
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Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), responsible for prisons, probation, and parole. He also was general counsel to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice—the governing body for TDCJ. Prior to that position, he was the executive director of the Texas Punishment Standards Commission, general counsel to the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, director of the Senate's redistricting staff, and a briefing attorney for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Among other projects, he works on the establishment and evaluation of public defender offices and on justice reinvestment strategies. Carl holds a JD from the University of Texas School of Law, an MA from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and a BA from the University of Cincinnati.
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    Laura van der Lugt
    Senior Policy Analyst, State Initiatives
    Laura van der Lugt provides technical assistance to states implementing justice reinvestment legislation. She delivers content expertise in the areas of program evaluation and quality assurance, evidence-based practices, and supervision practices in both correctional facilities and the community. Before joining
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    the CSG Justice Center, she was the director of Research and Innovation at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) in Boston, Massachusetts, where she oversaw the development, management, and measurement of SCSD policy innovation and programmatic strategy. Prior to SCSD, she worked as the director of Evaluation and Learning at Roca Inc., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization. Laura began her applied research career in the Boston Police Commissioner’s Office of Research and Development, where she coordinated and managed the City of Boston’s federal Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Demonstration Project grant-related programming. Laura holds a BA in sociology from Bates College, an MA in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in criminology and justice policy from Northeastern University.
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