Ontario to Open First Dedicated Mental Health Unit for Female Adult Inmates
Province Redeveloping Roy McMurtry Youth Centre
Ontario is continuing its work to increase mental health supports in the province's corrections system by creating the first dedicated mental health unit in Ontario for female inmates.
The unit is expected to open in early 2018 as part of a new 192-bed adult female detention centre on the site of the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre (RMYC) in Brampton. With capacity for 32 inmates, the dedicated mental health unit will meet the specific, often complex needs of female inmates with mental health issues. This unit was a key recommendation in a 2015 report on improving mental health services for female inmates.
The RMYC will be divided into two sections to separately house male youth and female adult inmates until smaller, community-based secure custody facilities for youth are completed in the Greater Toronto Area, where the male youth will be relocated. These facilities will provide safe and secure environments that will support more opportunities for effective rehabilitation and help youth successfully transition back into their communities.
Ontario is able to repurpose the RMYC due to a steady decrease in youth admissions as a result of the province's focus on prevention, diverting youth from the court system and providing alternatives to custody.
Retrofits for the female adult mental health unit, and construction and site planning of the new youth facilities are already underway, with the entire project expected to be completed by 2022.
- The RMYC is a 192-bed secure facility for male youth in conflict with the law that opened in 2009, and originally housed both male and female youth in separate units.
- The smaller youth sites are expected to be completed in winter 2020. More details on these facilities will come later.
- In addition to these new youth facilities, Ontario is redeveloping the Brookside Youth Centre in Cobourg.
- Since 2003, there has been an 81 per cent drop in youth custody admissions in Ontario.
- The report on improving mental health services for adult female inmates was one of 10 public interest remedies the government committed to in a settlement with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and a former inmate.
- Infrastructure Ontario (IO) is leading the project on behalf of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
- The project is being delivered using IO's alternative financing and procurement model, an innovative way of financing and procuring large, complex public infrastructure projects, with a track record of being 98 per cent on budget to date.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that all inmates have access to the mental health services they need, when and where they need them, to support their successful rehabilitation and reintegration back into their communities. This new adult female detention centre, with its dedicated mental health unit, is the best way to serve female inmates and the community.”
“I am proud of Ontario’s steadily decreasing youth admissions rate over the past decade. This decline is thanks largely to our government’s diversion policies that have allowed young people to receive the proper supports to remain in their communities and have a chance to succeed and thrive.”