September 23, 2023


Equality opinion

Manitoba governing administration closes youth jail, cites decline in incarceration rate

WINNIPEG – The Manitoba federal government is closing 1 of its two youth jails, citing a sharp drop in the amount of younger men and women staying sentenced to custody.

The Agassiz Youth Centre will close July 22 after running at less than half potential for a number of many years, and all those within will be transferred to the Manitoba Youth Centre in Winnipeg.

The two facilities have been operating at fewer than 50 % capacity for several years for the reason that of alterations to federal legislation in the early 2000s, Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen reported Thursday.

“The Youth Prison Justice Act places a precedence on sentencing in conditions of rehabilitation, restoration, (when) also recognizing that youth may well have diminished accountability.”

There are fewer than 90 youth in custody across the province — down from extra than 300 a decade ago.

Employees at the Portage la Prairie jail will be made available other work, Goertzen mentioned.

No final decision has been created about the future of the internet site, but it could possibly be utilized for a new $283-million hospital in the neighborhood, he additional. The healthcare facility was promised by former leading Brian Pallister soon just before he retired final drop.

Goertzen also stated new measures will be declared shortly to allow more youthful people from northern communities to be housed closer to property. Most of the persons in youth jails are Indigenous and a lot of are from the north, the place there are no youth jails.

Goertzen hinted at an enlargement of transitional housing in the north exactly where youth could serve the final portion of their sentences.

“Because there aren’t transitional facilities in the north, a large amount of those people youth serve their complete time at (Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie) and really don’t get the potential to go back into their communities and transition back again into the group, which we know has much better effects,” Goertzen said.

“You will hear of bulletins on how we’re heading to be repurposing individuals resources into northern communities in a truly limited interval of time.”

The Manitoba Government and Common Staff members Union, which represents jail guards and other team, mentioned it was not consulted on the Agassiz closure.

“This will effects the youth incarcerated there and it will remove in excess of a hundred good-paying out employment which assist Manitoba people in the community,” union president Kyle Ross mentioned in a assertion.

This report by The Canadian Press was very first printed March 24, 2022.

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