The Maine Department of Corrections has hired a new superintendent for Long Creek Youth Development Center.

Corrections Commissioner Dr. Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed that the agency has hired Caroline Raymond, CEO of Day One, a nonprofit substance abuse and behavioral health treatment organization for adolescents based in South Portland, to be the next leader of the state’s only youth correctional facility.

Fitzpatrick said Raymond was one of four candidates to make it to the final interview stage, after the department conducted a national search.

“I’m excited for the facility and the department,” Fitzpatrick said. “Caroline is someone we’ve worked with and known for many, many years and she’s had a long affiliation with Long Creek.”

Fitzpatrick said he had planned to announce Raymond’s hiring Friday, but Day One announced the news in a statement Thursday. Raymond has a clinical background, and has been working in administration at Day One for over 20 years, according to the organization.

“We sort of know who we’re getting,” Fitzpatrick said. “She obviously hasn’t been in that role of superintendent before, but we’ve had many years to watch her, see her work ethics and see how she works with juveniles.”

Raymond will continue in her current role at Day One for the next 60 days before taking over operations at Long Creek, according to a statement by Day One’s board.

“We are very appreciative of the great job Caroline has done both as CEO and in her previous roles at Day One and wish her all the best as she moves to Long Creek,” Dennis Carrillo, president of the Day One board of directors, said in a statement. “While we are sad to see her go, we look forward to continuing our outstanding partnership with Long Creek Youth Development Center by providing services to the youth residing there as we have for many years.”

Day One employees already provide assessment, counseling and other services at Long Creek, and in the fiscal year that ended July 30, 2016, screened 45 youth and provided substance abuse counseling to 91 young people, according to Day One’s latest annual report.

Raymond’s decision to accept the Long Creek position comes roughly five months after she took the helm of Day One in March while the organization’s board searched for a permanent replacement. Before March, she had previously served as director of residential and corrections services for Day One.

Fitzpatrick said Raymond’s salary was still being negotiated. Her predecessor, Jeffrey D. Merrill II, was paid $112,395.33 in 2016, $91,126 of which was wages.

Merrill resigned in March after being placed on leave during an unspecified investigation, the Department of Corrections had said previously. Merrill was in charge of the facility in November 2016, when Charles Maisie Knowles, 16, committed suicide while being detained at the facility, the first suicide there in decades.

His resignation also came on the heels of an incident in which three inmates at Long Creek escaped from a camping trip in the Carrabasssett Valley, stole a car and crashed in South Portland after a brief chase by police.

Knowles’ death became a flash point for the facility, which has seen a sharp increase in the number of residents with acute mental health problems.

The needs of the young people housed there have stretched the abilities of staff at the locked, 160-bed campus. Long Creek has a staff of about 169 and now houses about 80 inmates at a cost of roughly $15.2 million annually.

Merrill was appointed to the post in 2013 and had previously served as acting superintendent at Long Creek. He has nearly 30 years of correctional experience in Maine.

According to a snapshot report by the Department of Corrections that examined case histories of all 79 residents at Long Creek as of June 2016, nearly a third – 29.5 percent – arrived at Long Creek from a residential treatment facility. Roughly 85 percent arrived at the facility with three or more mental health diagnoses.

Matt Byrne canbe contacted at:

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