Colwood against custody closure

Mayor Carol Hamilton: “The bad news story of it is the kids we have in custody are the ones who need the most attention."

Colwood city council has decided to send a letter to the minister of children and family development opposing the upcoming closure of the Victoria Youth Custody Services Centre in View Royal.

Mayor Carol Hamilton, who worked at the centre as a correctional officer for 10 years, when it was at another Victoria location, said the centre is necessary to keep troubled youth close to their families and community supports.

“The good news story is we don’t have as many kids perhaps in custody,” Hamilton said.

“The bad news story of it is the kids we have in custody are the ones who need the most attention, most often and they need to be closer to those resources and as many of those community ties as possible.”

Colwood’s suggestion is to keep the facility open and use part of it to house female inmates, as no custody facilities for women currently exist on Vancouver Island. Female offenders in the local court system have to be held in local police cells or placed in custody facilities in the Lower Mainland.

Hamilton would like to see the issue come before the next Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) meeting in September to garner support from communities throughout the province.

“In the meantime we just might start pushing it out to other communities on the Island and see where it goes,” Hamilton said. “I just think it’s a bad move.”

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