Maine’s only youth prison has hired a new leader to oversee the facility.

Ryan Andersen has been appointed superintendent of the Long Creek Youth Development Center, the Maine Department of Corrections announced on Tuesday.

Andersen had been deputy superintendent at Long Creek since 2022. He filled in as acting superintendent after the facility’s former leader, Lynn Allen, resigned in March.

He first joined the department 17 years ago as a juvenile program worker, the announcement said. Andersen became the state’s manager of correctional operations in 2014 and deputy director of operations in early 2022.

Commissioner Randall Liberty praised Andersen for his “unique leadership style” in a written statement. He said Andersen shares the department’s “rehabilitative vision of providing an environment that is safe, supportive, secure and focused on helping youths reenter society in a productive way.”

Andersen said he’s excited for the new role.


“My ultimate goal for Long Creek is to promote a culture of continuous improvement that will provide better outcomes for our youth, provide a safe and fulfilling work environment for our employees, and ultimately create stronger communities for our youth to return to,” Andersen said in a statement from the department.

Long Creek houses people younger than 21 who have either been charged with or found guilty of crimes.

For years, the facility has struggled with dire staffing shortages. In February, department leaders told lawmakers that these shortages have made it harder to supervise residents and implement alternative housing programs.

The Center for Children’s Law and Policy, a Washington, D.C., firm that the state hired to review Long Creek in 2017 and 2021, identified “chronic staffing shortages” as a major issue at least twice. The center also linked major periods of unrest at the time to low levels of supervision and “counter intuitive” forms of punishment.

Lawmakers and advocates for juvenile justice reform have tried to close Long Creek, but the governor has vetoed such legislation because she said there was no other secure facility to place young people who might be a risk to themselves or others.

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