Dedicated Aboriginal Youth Custody Facility Opens
McGuinty Government Providing Aboriginal-Specific Programming For Youth
Ontario is opening Canada's first secure custody facility for Aboriginal youth in Fort Frances today.
The Ge-Da-Gi-Binez Youth Centre will help Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law through culturally appropriate programs and services.
Reconnecting Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law with their heritage and traditions can help them transition back into the community better prepared to make better choices. The new facility offers traditional teachings, Aboriginal history, cultural ceremonies, as well as education, anger management and life skills programs.
Operated by Pwi-Di-Goo-Zing Ne-Yaa-Zhing Advisory Services, the new facility serves Aboriginal youth ages 12 to 17 years who require secure custody and detention in Northwestern Ontario.
Ontario is moving youth out of units in adult correctional facilities and into separate youth custody facilities to provide young people with more effective programs and more opportunity for rehabilitation.
- Ge-Da-Gi Binez means "spotted eagle" in the Ojibway language, which represents youth - young and learning.
- The facility has separate areas for male and female youth, eight beds for males and four beds for females.
- Approximately 40 new jobs have been created to operate the centre and more than 200 construction-related jobs were created during the facility's construction phase.
- The province opened a new youth centre in Sault Ste. Marie and a newly expanded facility in Ottawa, and is completing construction on new youth centres in Brampton and Thunder Bay
“Aboriginal young people face unique challenges. Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law will no longer share a facility with adult offenders. They'll take responsibility for their actions while having access to culturally appropriate youth programming that will significantly reduce their risk of reoffending.”
“The Ge-Da-Gi Binez Youth Centre demonstrates this 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.”
“We are proud to be operating the first Aboriginal youth facility in Canada. One of the primary objectives in rehabilitating youth is to be inclusive of culture and not inconsiderate of it. 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.”
Chief Chuck McPherson