The superintendent of Maine’s only prison for youth and young adults has resigned after two years on the job.

Lynne Allen Photo courtesy Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections announced Friday that Long Creek Youth Development Center Superintendent Lynne Allen resigned for undisclosed personal reasons. She was hired in January 2022.

“We are grateful for Lynne’s dedication to serving justice involving youth in Maine and for her work at Long Creek,” Randy Liberty, commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections, said in the written announcement. “We wish her all the best in her future.”

Deputy Superintendent Ryan Andersen was named acting superintendent. According to the statement, the Department of Corrections plans to conduct an extensive search” to fill the position in the coming weeks to replace Allen, who came to Maine from the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services.

Allen could not be reached for an interview about her resignation or her tenure at Long Creek. She was the third superintendent in seven years to lead the troubled South Portland facility, which critics have sought to close in favor of smaller community-based programs.

Long Creek houses males and females under the age of 21 who have been charged with or convicted of felony crimes. In recent years, it began housing more youths with mental health and substance use issues who have nowhere else to go.


Critics of Long Creek began to call for its closure following the 2016 suicide of a transgender inmate. It was the first suicide at the facility in 30 years and became a flashpoint for juvenile justice advocates who say Long Creek’s model of centralized incarceration is a failure and a remnant of outdated thinking.

Researchers say evidence shows that smaller, less restrictive home-like facilities allow youths to remain connected to their communities, schools and families and are more effective at improving their lives and helping them become healthy, functional adults.

Lawmakers passed a bill in 2021, the year before Allen was hired, that would have phased out the prison, but Gov. Janet Mills vetoed it. Mills and Liberty think Maine should have a youth detention facility for those who might be a danger to themselves or others.

But staffing shortages at the facility have caused persistent problems, including large fights, frequent and long-term lockdowns, and a lack of access to mandatory legal counsel and education at the public school housed within Long Creek.

In 2021, the Center for Children’s Law and Policy found that many of the violent incidents that occurred inside Long Creek were the result of boredom, chronic staff shortages, and a counterproductive tendency to over-punish young residents.

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