Meet the Staff

Our team of experts conducts applied research, evaluates programs and new initiatives, and provides technical assistance, consultation and organizational development services.


George Shaler is the Senior Research Associate at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, which is located in Portland. In addition, he is the Director of the Maine Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), which is housed at the Muskie School. His primary research and evaluation interests are justice and public health issues and how these topics are intertwined. He provides program evaluation and consultation services to state and local government agencies as well as community-based organizations, and offers technical assistance in evaluation capacity building (using a logic model approach) to many Maine non-profits. Mr. Shaler has extensive experience in the application of statistical methods and techniques, and has been on the SAC staff since 2003. He has examined county jail trends, disproportionate minority contact, prison/jail health care issues, and juvenile and adult recidivism analysis, and conducted a community policing program evaluation. Mr. Shaler has co-authored and/or edited numerous SAC reports, including the recent Disproportionate Contact: Youth of Color in Maine’s Juvenile Justice System, a winner of the 2015 Douglas Yearwood National Publication Award in the Statistical Analysis/Management category.

erica king
policy associate

Erica Hansen King is a Policy Associate at the Justice Policy Program. Ms. King evaluates correctional programs, delivers coaching, provides training and technical assistance in evidence based practices, and designs organizational and workforce development strategies in corrections, child welfare and other state systems. For over 12 years Ms. King has been a leader in moving innovative programs forward to full implementation. She has designed and implemented successful initiatives impacting a variety of vulnerable populations, including adults and youth who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, refugees, underprivileged and/or impacted by mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities. She provides leadership and project management in collaboration with state and non-profit agencies for juvenile recidivism, organizational effectiveness, gender responsive programming, disproportionate minority contact, correctional program effectiveness and other areas.


Mara Sanchez is a Policy Associate within the Justice Policy Program. She is primarily focused on youth justice issues and has contributed to Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine and most recently, Place Matters: Aligning Investments in a Community-Based Continuum of Care for Maine Youth Transitioning to Adulthood. Mara is passionate about helping nonprofit and government partners achieve success through evaluation, development, creative problem solving and data literacy. She has experience with independent project management, strengthening team relationships and using technology to improve organizational processes.


Robyn Dumont is a Research Analyst at Cutler Institute’s Justice Policy Program.  Her primary interest is the juvenile justice population.  She has authored and co-authored a number of recidivism reports, worked on projects related to youth detention rates as part of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI), and co-authored the 2015 Disproportionate Contact Report.  She also contributed to the 2014 Maine Crime & Justice Data Book and co‑authored the 2015 Maine Crime Victimization Report.  In addition to her work with juvenile and criminal issues, Ms. Dumont also works with the Survey Research Center at Cutler Institute.

tara wheeler

Tara Wheeler is a Research Analyst at Cutler Institute’s Justice Policy Program.  Ms. Wheeler is primarily focused on the criminal justice system and utilizing data to inform decision-making.  In addition to analyzing and interpreting data, she has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to ensure that grantee progress reporting forms reflect the Violence Against Women Act’s statute.   She is also proficient in graphic design and uses this knowledge to create accessible and informative data visualizations. 

SHERI Foster

Sheri Foster is a Project Assistant at the Justice Policy Program. Ms. Foster has several years of experience as a meeting planner and logistical coordinator for several projects in the Muskie School including the Maine Victim Assistance Academy and the Tri-State Advanced Victim Assistance Academy for the past 15 years. Ms. Foster’s design expertise serves a key role in substantially enhancing the quality of SAC reports and presentations.