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BC Greens: New report exposes unjust isolation of youth in BC custody, urgent reform needed

April 23, 2024
   2 min read
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For immediate release

April 23, 2024

VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, Ombudsperson British Columbia released a report titled Alone: The Prolonged and Repeated Isolation of Youth in Custody. The three-year investigation reveals that solitary confinement in BC’s youth custody centers is unjust, unsafe, and disproportionately affects Indigenous youth. In response, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of Tsartlip First Nation, has issued the following statement:

“Every young person deserves dignity and respect, especially within our justice system where outcomes can significantly alter lives. Despite 26 recommendations from the Ombudsperson, only three have been fully implemented. I echo the Ombudsperson’s grave concerns regarding the ministry’s failure to prioritize these issues, putting youth, particularly Indigenous youth, at risk of serious harm. Government’s nice words have hardly been matched by meaningful action.

“Since 2022, I have introduced a private member’s bill in each legislative session to ban prolonged solitary confinement and enhance conditions within the justice system. This bill includes protections for vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, individuals at risk of harm or suicide, those with certain disabilities, or those requiring medical observation. It’s time this government calls it for debate.”

From January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, the ministry recorded that 12 youths were placed in separate confinement 23 times. Of these, 58% identified as Indigenous, 25% as racialized, and 17% as white, with 58% under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca

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