Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Young Offender's Centre Closure - Who To Contact

(if you want the contact info scroll down)

Yesterday at the city's Protective Services committee meeting we had a number of concerned community groups come forward to speak about the closure of the Young Offender's Centre in GP. This facility serves not only GP but also the whole NW corner of the province with kids being sent here from communities as far north as Fox Lake, High Level and Ft. Vermillion areas.

It appears that the centre was a victim of the recent provincial budget.

You can follow the news stories on the issue here:

1st Article (Budget cuts will force closure of Young Offenders Centre in GP)
2nd Article (Closure of YOC concerns mother of teen)
3rd Article (Speaking out)

What are the reasons to be concerned about the closure of the centre and the transfer of the youth to a larger centre in Edmonton? Well a couple that come to mind quickly are:

- The youth will now be in a larger population of "inmates" increasing the chances that they will be exposed to (and become involved with) gangs and more serious offenders.

- Families from northern communities now have a long way to go to visit the kids and it's pretty well recognized that as soon as you take away a support network your chances of getting these kids "back on track" drops dramatically.

So, for those reasons and many others people have begun rallying to see if they can affect the government's decision. The goal is to have the centre reopened and the youth transferred back here (I understand that some or all were being sent out today).

If you want to contact the people responsible, and express your concern about the closure of the GP Young Offender's Centre here's my suggestions (clicking on the name will take you to their full contact page if you want to write a letter or call - I've provided emails here for quick reference) I'd suggest contacting them all and if you're going to send an email copy all of these people:

Solicitor General, MLA Fred Lindsay
(he's the Minister directly in charge of the department that handles corrections and the operation of the YOC.)

Constituency Office
#103, 5101 48 Street
Stony Plain, AB
Canada T7Z 1L8
Phone: (780) 963-1444
Fax: (780) 963-1730

Legislature Office
402 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 415-9406
Fax: (780) 415-9566

Premier Ed Stelmach
(he's the Premier, the top politician in charge of our Alberta government - all departments answer to him)

Vegreville Constituency Office
Box 451
4945 - 51 Avenue
Vegreville, AB
Canada T9C 1R6
Phone: (780) 632-6840
Fax: (780) 632-6888

Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B6

Northern Alberta MLAs
These are the local people elected to represent residents (like you) in their area - they should be taking your views to the Legislature in Edmonton

Grande Prairie Area
Mel Knight
Wayne Drysdale

Peace River/Manning/High Level/Ft. Vermillion Area
Frank Oberle

Fairview/Falher Area
Hector Goudreau

Slave Lake/High Pairie/Red Earth Area
Pearl Calahasen

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