Agassiz Youth Centre in Portage la Prairie closing due to falling incarceration numbers

The Manitoba government is closing the Agassiz Youth Centre in Portage la Prairie after declining numbers of youth in custody led to the facility being less than 30 per cent occupied.

Manitoba has seen a significant decrease in the number of youth in custody since 2012, similar to other provinces in Canada, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.

Goertzen will speak at a news conference about youth incarceration at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Agassiz Youth Centre will officially close on Sept. 22.

After that, incarcerated youth in southern Manitoba will be held in the Manitoba Youth Centre, which has also been operating at less than 50 per cent capacity for several years, the province said.

There are currently fewer than 90 youth in custody in Manitoba, a decrease from over 300 a decade ago, but still more per capita than most provinces, the news release says. 

The Agassiz Youth Centre in Portage la Prairie will close July 22. (Jill Coubrough/CBC )

The decline in youth incarceration numbers followed the enactment of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The province will engage with staff, community members and other stakeholders in the coming weeks to decide the future of the site, the news release says.

It will also work with staff and the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union to find employees available work at other correctional facilities.

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