Statement from Ontario NDP Children and Youth Services Critic on solitary confinement in Ontario youth justice facilities report

Monique Taylor, Ontario NDP Children and Youth Services Critic, issued the following statement in response to today’s report from the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

“New Democrats welcome the systemic review by the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth of solitary confinement in Ontario youth justice facilities. The evidence is clear: children shouldn’t be held in solitary confinement for more than 24 hours. Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals need to act today and prohibit the practice of putting kids in solitary confinement for more than 24 hours.

While the report notes an overall decrease in the use of secure isolation across the province, it also highlights an immediate need for more to be done to protect children and youth in justice facilities - and in care. It’s not appropriate for youth to be spending up to 15 days in secure isolation especially given the documented mental health impacts such a placement has on a developing brain.

 

The government needs to listen to lived experiences of youth and children in the justice system and make changes immediately. Youth and children in justice facilities, and in care, need to have a voice at the table. They need to be part of a conversation to ensure that our system is meeting their needs and providing them with positive opportunities for success. 

The Provincial Advocate should not have to fight to be informed when a youth is placed in secure isolation, given that his government mandated role is to advocate for children and youth in care.  New Democrats will continue to fight for the needs of kids in youth justice facilities, and in care everywhere across Ontario.