A recent article in Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada described a disturbing review of the use of solitary confinement in Ontario's 20 youth detention centers. The 78-page report from the Advocate for Children and Youth found that "provincial practices fall well short of international standards." According the article, "in 2014, Ontario facilities placed 164 young people in solitary for periods beyond 24 hours. Thirty-eight of those placements stretched over 72 hours and 13 lasted in excess of five days. Together we KAAN make a difference! Use our pre-written email to urge the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, Hon. Tracey MacCharles, to take steps to dramatically reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of solitary confinement in Ontario's juvenile detention facilities.
Thank you for your help,
Lives in the Balance, home of the Kids Advocacy Action Network (KAAN)
Reduce solitary confinement of youth in juvenile facilities in Ontario!
Hon. Tracy MacCharles,
I am writing to you in response to the article in the Globe and Mail regarding overuse of solitary confinement in Ontario's juvenile justice facilities. Staff in many such facilities often incorrectly believe that solitary confinement is an effective punishment and helps maintain safety. The opposite is actually true. As you know, the kids who are placed in juvenile detention facilities often have social, academic, and behavioral challenges that have been poorly understood and addressed for a very long time. They are the most vulnerable (and expensive kids) in our society, and are deserving of compassionate, enlightened, effective treatment.
I urge you to look into proven alternatives for handling kids who are having difficulty meeting behavioral expectations in these and other facilities. The free information on the website of the non-profit organization Lives in the Balance website (www.livesinthebalance.org) contains vast free resources regarding non-punitive, non-adversarial, proactive, collaborative interventions, including a highly effective model called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS). In the juvenile detention system in the state of Maine, implementation of the CPS model has been associated with dramatic reductions in recidivism (from 65% to 15%), staff and resident injuries, and the use of solitary confinement.
Please take the time to explore the Lives in the Balance website. I firmly believe that the resources you'll find there will help you, your leaders, and detention staff better understand the youth under your care and to intervene in ways that are compassionate and effective.
Thank you for your consideration.