Recent News & Press Releases

September 2015 - Maine Pretrial Services Awarded Caring about Lives in Maine Award for Suicide Prevention Efforts

The Maine State Police enforces Maine's laws and provides police services to its citizens. Quoting his own words, "using the core values of integrity, fairness, compassion, and excellence as a guide", Col. Williams strives to set the example for all to follow. Through his leadership, three troops of Maine State Troopers are now trained in Mental Health First Aid, an in-person training that teaches individuals how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis. Col. Williams supported and promoted the expectation that 20% of certified law enforcement participate in MHFA or Crisis Intervention Training. He, himself is certified as a Mental Health First Aider. Col. Williams took this effort one-step further - approving Trooper William Baker be nationally certified as MHFA trainer. Trooper Baker currently serves as a per diem trainer for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Maine). Again quoting Col. Williams "it is my honor to have the opportunity to lead this fine organization and continue to provide the exceptional service the people of Maine have come to expect." Jenna Mehnert, Executive Director of NAMI Maine shared: The law enforcement module of MHFA has a significant focus on officer mental health including preventing officer suicide. The goal of MHFA is to help officers think about their own mental health as well as their families and greater community. As we talk about caring about lives in Maine, it is important that we honor law enforcement not just for the work they do to keep us all safe, but also when leadership recognizes the importance of taking care of the mental health of individual officer.

Shawn LaGrega, Deputy Director, and Darcy Wilcox, Case Management Director Maine Pretrial Services

Through a partnership with Building Caring Connections in Maine (BCCIM), the federal suicide prevention project through the Maine Suicide Prevention Program, Shawn and Darcy have led the march on incorporating statewide suicide prevention efforts within Maine Pretrial Services. Implementing new procedures in an agency can sometimes be challenging. Shawn and Darcy have worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition for their staff, exceeding expectations. Most impressive are the comprehensive suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention protocols and flow charts they have developed. A large task undertaken by Darcy, Shawn and colleagues has resulted in very detailed policies and procedures in place for all staff working in various settings. These policies and procedures ensure clear expectations of suicide prevention efforts. Through their dedicated work, Maine Pretrial Services staff are poised to continue and/or expand their suicide prevention efforts in the future.

April 2015 - Cumberland County Receives Grant For Rehabilitating Former Inmates.

The county's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative provides services and counseling to selected inmates, planning for their eventual release and then following them as they work to resume normal life.

Click here to read more.

January 2015 - Cumberland County Human Trafficking team receives Maine Association of Police Award

The MAP award was received on 2/2015 for being part of a small team that consists of Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, The Attorney Generalís Office, Preble Street Resource Center, Maine Pretrial Services and sex trafficking mentors/survivors, that are battling sex trafficking in Southern Maine. Cumberland County Case Manager Jennifer Lombardo received the Presidents Recognition Award for her efforts as part of the team in working with victims/survivors.

June 2014 - CODVC Case Manager T Jay Wheeler Named Veteran of the Month

  • Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Case Manager for Maine Pretrial Services
  • While attending a National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Washington D.C. in 2011, he attended several breakout sessions on the Buffalo Veterans Court. When he returned, he approached Justice Nancy Mills and the Co-Occurring Disorders Court team with the idea of starting a Veterans Court in Maine.
  • Justice Nancy Mills and the team agreed to start a Veterans Track of the Co-Occurring Disorders Court.
  • He along with Justice Mills and the Co-Occuring Disorders Court team created the Veterans Court.
  • A Major Part of a Veterans Court is a peer mentorship program. In order to better serve Justice involved Veterans, he created an "all veteran" peer mentor group that works with and supports Veterans that are part of Veterans Court.
  • He is a proud member of Team Red, White and Blue and highly encourages all of the Veterans he works with to join. In addition, he started a Veterans Peer Support Group that encourages physical fitness, peer support, and community involvement.
  • Mr. Wheeler says, "Veterans are a part of my family and I try to follow in President Lincoln's orders "to care for him who shall have borne the battle..."

May 2014 - Cumberland County Case Manager Receives Community Legal Professional Award From Crossroads Maine

On May 21st Maine Pretrial Services Case Manager Elizabeth Powell was honored at the Crossroads Inaugural Community Breakfast in Portland. Elizabeth was presented with the Community Legal Professional award for her tireless efforts in working to shorten the span between treatment and criminal justice. Elizabeth was one of 5 distinguished professionals in Cumberland County honored at the inaugural event.

She has worked for the agency as a Drug Court Case Manager in York and Cumberland County and currently works as a general case manager in the Portland office. In her speech to the audience at the breakfast ceremony, she accepted her award on behalf of her fellow case managers in the agency, highlighted the need for an alternative more humane approach other than incarceration, for the population afflicted with drug/alcohol addiction and asked the room full of professionals in the field for new ideas on how to address the problem for the population caught up in the system. Also provided some statistics about the increased rate of women in the criminal justice system for the last 30 years.

Quoting Elizabeth "receiving the award was a very humbling experience".

March 2014 - Hancock County Drug Court Receives $25,000 Grant From County For Peer Housing Mentor

On March 19, 2014, the Hancock County Commissioners had the pleasure of awarding $126,000 in grants to several local organizations who serve the citizens of Hancock County in unique ways. This was made possible though the receipt of Community Benefit Funds.

Maine Pretrial Services and the Hancock County Adult Drug Treatment Court have entered into collaboration with Community Housing of Maine (CHOM) to provide permanent supportive housing to some homeless drug court clients.

CHOM has purchased a building with six 1-bedroom apartments in downtown Ellsworth. It is in close proximity to the courthouse, treatment, recovery meetings, health services, law enforcement, and employment or education opportunities. They will begin renovations in May and hope to be available for residents by the end of 2014. The Hancock County drug court will be the primary referral source and serve as the supportive services, with a high level of treatment and supervision. Maine State Housing Authority has awarded the grant funding to acquire and renovate the building. Ellsworth Housing Authority will provide project-based vouchers to support the monthly rental gap beyond residents' ability to pay.

In addition, with the help of Hancock County Community Benefits Funds, Maine Pretrial Services will be hiring a Peer Housing Mentor in a half-time capacity to work with the client/residents as a role model and recovery coach. This position will be monitored as a three year pilot project. If successful, with increased compliance and graduation rates for previously homeless clients, sustainable funding will be sought and the position replicated where feasible. Efforts continue to secure grant funding for this pilot period.

March 2014 - Will Massachusetts Build a New Jail or Explore Alternatives to Bail?

In January 2013, bill H1434 was introduced, which would build a "women's pretrial facility" in Middlesex County, which begins just west of Boston.

Click here to read the entire article on the Truthout website.

March 2014 - Panelists urged to rethink Maine's Bail System

A commission looking for solutions to the financial crisis in the stateís jail system was asked Friday to rethink how bail works.

Click here to read the entire article on the Portland Press Herald website.

Feb. 2014 - Veterans Court Serving Those Who Served Our Country

For those who serve returning to civilian life can be hard. Sometimes the reintegration process is harder for some than others causing some veterans to fall onto hard times and in some rare cases in prison. In Maine, a special Veteran's Court has been created to help those veterans. Unfortunately, it lacks funding and the staff to keep it going.

Click here to read the entire article on the WCSH6 website.

Feb. 2014 - Maine Pretrial Services Assists Massachusetts with Bail Reform

If you knew Massachusetts could save $125 a day per person, increase public safety, reduce overcrowding without building new prisons and jails, and only lock up those awaiting trial who have been deemed truly dangerous, would you take that deal?

Click here to read the entire article on the Boston Magazine website.

Oct. 2013 - Maine's Bail System Needs Overhaul

Members of a commission looking for solutions to the financial crisis in the state's jail system were asked today to rethink how bail works.

Click here to read the entire article on the Kennebec Journal website.

March 2014 - Where Law Enforcement and Treatment Meet in Maine's War on Drugs

Crime, sex, and drugs, but the only rock 'n' roll in these womenís lives is the time they've wasted going in and out of the corrections system in Maine, all because of their addiction to drugs.

Click here to read the entire article on the 92 Moose website.

Sex Trafficking Task Force Arrests Four in Portland Area Wweep

Police in Portland and Westbrook charge three of the men with engaging a prostitute.
By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A Greater Portland task force of police and prosecutors fighting human sex trafficking in southern Maine arrested four people as part of an investigation into an alleged prostitution operation.

Bao T. Loc, top, charged with engaging a prostitute; Chandler G. Marsh, center, charged with eluding a police officer and reckless conduct; and Loyall F. Sewall, charged with engaging a prostitute.

Courtesy Maine Department of Public Safety

Police in Portland and Westbrook on Friday charged three men with engaging a prostitute. A fourth suspect in the case was not charged with any prostitution crimes but with eluding police and reckless conduct. Loyall F. Sewall, 49, of Westbrook was arrested on Larrabee Road in Westbrook; James Conrad Begin, 35, of Lewiston was arrested at 1230 Congress St., Portland; and Bao T. Loc, 20, of South Portland was arrested at the Super 8 motel in Westbrook. All were charged with engaging a prostitute. Police say that when officers participating in the investigation approached Chandler G. Marsh, 24, of Hyde Park, Mass., in a parking lot on Larrabee Road, he sped off in his car. He was heading out William Clark Drive when an officer who was in the area put down a spike mat, which deflated the tires on Marsh's car, police said.

Participating in the Greater Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking and Exploitation are Portland police, South Portland police, Westbrook police, Scarborough police, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Maine Pretrial Services, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

June 2013 - Specialty Court Programs Give Criminals New Lease on Life

Two men who pleaded guilty to separate robberies got new starts in life on Thursday after completing specialty court programs aimed at rehabilitation.

Click here to read the entire article on the Kennebec Journal website.

May 2013 - Washington County Adult Drug Treatment Court Annual Hike

During National Drug Court Month the Washington County Adult Drug Treatment Court hosted another annual hike to celebrate National Drug Court Month. The hike, organized and led by the Honorable John V. Romei, presiding judge in the Washington County Drug Court, took place in beautiful Cutler, Maine. Drug Court participants, graduates, staff, and supporters joined together to hike the picturesque 3 mile loop across the rocky shore and through the woods. The group stopped for lunch on a scenic bluff, where an AA meeting celebrating recovery, sobriety, and community was held. The meeting chair recognized Judge Romei with a commemorative plaque for his strong leadership and commitment since Drug Courtís inception. A similar commendation was offered to PPO William Love, an active Drug Court probation officer since the programís start. Two graduates also addressed the group, and fond memories were also shared for Drug Court participants and staff who have passed.

April 2013 - Maine Pretrial Services (MPS) is First in Nation to Achieve Pretrial Service Accreditation

The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) announced today that, after a rigorous, two-year process, the Maine Pretrial Services (MPS) is the first pretrial services program in the country to achieve NAPSA accreditation.

In a statement from John Clark, pretrial expert and co-chair of the NAPSA Accreditation Committee, "The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA), the professional association of pretrial services practitioners nationwide, has established a set of comprehensive standards that pretrial services programs must meet to be certified by the Association as an accredited program. The accreditation standards are based on legal and evidence-based practices in pretrial services. To be accredited, a pretrial services program must demonstrate that it provides the jurisdictions it serves a full range of pretrial services, and at a high level. After a rigorous process, the Association is pleased to announce that Maine Pretrial Services is the first pretrial services program in the country to achieve NAPSA accreditation."

Click here to read the entire press release.

April 2013 - Maine Pretrial Services Executive Director Presents at National Association of Counties Webinar

Elizabeth Simoni, Executive Director of Maine Pretrial Services, gave a presentation on Pretrial Risk Assessment as part of the National Association of Counties webinar "Front End Justice Reform" in April, 2013.

Click here to view the presentation.

Deputy Director Shawn LaGrega Receives NAPSA Member of the Year Award

Maine Pretrial Services Deputy Director Shawn LaGrega received the National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies (NAPSA) Member of the Year award in Washington DC. Shawn was honored for his work on the first National Accreditation model for Pretrial Services Agencies. The project, which lasted 2 years is expected to conclude in December of 2012 resulting in the National Accreditation of the agency.

June 2011 - National Association of Counties Gives Award to Aroostook County

National Association of Counties Gives Award to Aroostook County

On June 7, 2011, the National Association of Counties presented the County of Aroostook a national award ďCollaborative Criminal Justice and Pretrial Services ProgramĒ for 2011. This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of all persons involved in the Criminal Justice and the Pretrial Services programs here in Aroostook County and how well they all work together as a team.

Click here to read more.

Victims Advocate Class At U-Maine Presque Isle

Chief Deputy Craig Clossey Aroostook County Sheriffs Office, John Hyman Houlton Pretrial Case Manager and Detective Kris Calman from Houlton PD
Chief Deputy Craig Clossey Aroostook County Sheriffs Office,
John Hyman Houlton Pretrial Case Manager
and Detective Kris Calman from Houlton PD

John Hyman was one of several individuals who completed the 40-hour Victims Advocate Class at U-Maine campus in Presque Isle, with the Muskee Group facilitating. According to John the class was very informative and provided a great opportunity to interact with other regional organizations and law enforcement agencies.