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Minister Announces Euphemism

March 24, 2009 permalink

Ontario's low-profile Minister of Children and Youth Services Deb Matthews has emerged to proudly announce a new jail for aboriginal children in Fort Frances at a cost of over a million dollars per prisoner. Oops, it is not a jail, but a "secure facility for youth in conflict with the law".




Secure custody facility opens

By BRYAN MEADOWS, Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Canada‘s first secure custody facility for aboriginal youth was officially opened Monday in Fort Frances.

The $13.2-million Ge-Da-Gi-Binez Youth Centre will help aboriginal youth in conflict with the law through culturally appropriate programs and services.

“Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law will no longer share a facility with adult offenders,” said Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Mathews.

Mathews was to have joined community leaders to open the Eighth Street centre, but freezing rain prevented her from flying into the Fort Frances airport.

“Aboriginal young people face unique challenges,” she said.

While they take responsibility for their actions, Mathews said, they‘ll now have access to culturally appropriate youth programming that will significantly reduce their risk of reoffending.‘‘

Operated by Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services, the facility serves up to 12 youth, aged 12 to 17, who require secure custody and detention in Northwestern Ontario. There are separate areas for males and females, with eight beds for males and four beds for females.

The facility offers traditional teachings, aboriginal history, cultural ceremonies, as well as education, anger management and life skills programs. It has a ceremonial space so young people can practice aboriginal traditions

About 40 new jobs have been created to operate the centre and more than 200 jobs were created during the facility‘s construction.

“We are proud to be operating the first aboriginal youth facility in Canada,” said Chief Chuck McPherson, president of Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services.

“One of the primary objectives in rehabilitating youth is to be inclusive of culture and not inconsiderate of it,” he said. “As First Nations people, we understand the social and economic conditions that our clients are coming from. Our approach can help our youths turn their lives around and be positive contributors to society.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid noted that the centre demonstrates the government‘s commitment to finding and implementing innovative solutions to improve the lives of aboriginal youth in Ontario.

“The centre will enable aboriginal youth to acquire and develop the life skills that will increase their opportunities as adults in a unique setting respectful of their culture,” he said.

Ontario is moving youth out of units in adult correctional facilities and into separate facilities to provide them with more effective programs and more opportunity for rehabilitation.

The province has also opened a new youth centre in Sault Ste. Marie, expanded a facility in Ottawa, and is completing construction of new youth centres in Thunder Bay and Brampton.

Source: Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal