Almost Empty Youth Centre to Close

first_imgThe province will work closely with local governments andbusiness organizations in southwestern Nova Scotia to promoteeconomic development, as it prepares for closure of the ShelburneYouth Centre on April 1. The announcement was made today, Feb. 10, by Justice MinisterMichael Baker. There are only two youths living on the modern campus that oncehoused 120 and that now has a normal capacity of 24. The facilitycosts about $2.8 million a year to operate. “With extra space available at our Nova Scotia Youth Centre inWaterville,” said Mr. Baker, “it’s the appropriate time to closeShelburne and transfer the remaining young people, to make surethey receive excellent programs in a larger group environment.Today’s announcement is all about doing the right thing for ouryouth, working with our staff to help them explore options, andworking together on future economic development opportunities.” As a result of the decline in the number of young people incustody, Shelburne was downsized to 24 beds in 2001. Since thefederal Youth Criminal Justice Act took effect in 2003, thenumber of residents has continued to drop. Under the Act, youthsunder the age of 18 who commit violent offences can be placed incustody. Non-violent offenders receive intensive supervision orother community-based sentences. Historically, about 75 per centof the young people living on-site have come from the metroHalifax region, with only two per cent from the South Shore. “When it comes to working hands-on with South Shore youth, ourintensive supervision programs provide an even greater benefitthan having a facility like Shelburne,” said Mr. Baker. “Ourprobation officers in Bridgewater and Yarmouth give directsupport to area schools by working with as many as 20 youths. Andthat support will continue. “This announcement removes any uncertainty among staff about thefuture of Shelburne,” added Mr. Baker. “I know it’s been adifficult time for them. Now, it’s time to roll up our sleevesand do our best to support the region’s economic strategy.” Mr. Baker said the province will listen closely to suggestionsand recommendations from the region. “We’re certainly open toideas,” he added. “We understand the value of attracting long-term jobs to the region.” The Shelburne Youth Centre is a former naval base that wasconverted to a juvenile training school following the SecondWorld War. The Department of Justice assumed responsibility forthe facility in 1994. Discussions will take place shortly with staff and the NovaScotia Government and General Employees’ Union to identifyoptions for staff, including continuing employment withinCorrectional Services.last_img