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Maine Youth Justice advocating for no youth incarceration in Maine

In light of a 12-year-old girl being charged with attempted murder and being held at Long Creek Youth Development Center, Maine Youth Justice is speaking out.

MAINE, USA — A 12-year-old Auburn girl is being charged with attempted murder, after allegedly stabbing her father once in the chest and once in the stomach.

RELATED: Auburn police say 12-year-old girl suspected in father's stabbing

Now, she is being held at Long Creek Youth Development Center, something child advocates do not agree with.

"The answer just can't keep being Long Creek," Adan Abdikadar of Maine Youth Justice said. 

Maine Youth Justice has been pushing for the closure of Long Creek for almost two years. Advocates say, when a child does time in Long Creek, it becomes a cycle.

"Once someone goes through Long Creek they just keep going back. It's a proven fact. You can look at the records," Abdikadar added.

Maine's Department of Corrections was not available for comment on Monday, but Associate Commissioner Colin O'Neil spoke with NEWS CENTER Maine last month regarding youth detention centers. He said the goal of Long Creek is to help kids get back into the community. O'Neil adds, within 30 days of arriving at Long Creek, a child undergoes an extensive assessment, then begins learning skills that can help them after they're released.

"In order to reduce the likelihood of that young person committing crime in the future," he said.

But for Maine Youth Justice advocates that's not enough. They want Long Creek closed altogether.

"We think the $18.6 million that is currently being held to incarcerate 31 young people would be better spent in our communities," Al Cleveland with Maine Youth Justice said.

Cleveland added that some states have done away with youth incarceration, including California, New York, and Vermont. 

So far, there are no indications that Maine will join that list anytime soon. 

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