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Manitoba Ombudsman and the Manitoba Advocate release independent investigation reports into the youth justice system

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Feb 21, 2019

Manitoba Ombudsman and the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth conducted a joint investigation into the use of pepper spray and segregation in youth correctional facilities, with each office examining the issues from the perspectives of their distinct mandates.

This investigation was initiated in response to concerns raised in 2015 and 2016 by youth and youth criminal defence counsel with the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, formerly the Office of the Children’s Advocate, about the use of pepper spray and segregation at Agassiz Youth Centre and Manitoba Youth Centre. The advocate raised the concerns with the ombudsman as they did not have jurisdiction to investigate the justice system at the time (their jurisdiction was expanded in 2018). It was determined that the offices would collaborate.

The ombudsman examined legislation, regulations and policies related to the use of pepper spray and segregation and determined whether they were being appropriately followed by Corrections staff. The advocate looked at whether using pepper spray and segregation is justified and in the best interests of youth while they are in custody. Each office issued an independent report.

The ombudsman’s report is available at:

https://www.ombudsman.mb.ca/uploads/document/files/case-2016-0154-en.pdf

The advocate's report is available at:

http://manitobaadvocate.ca/wp-content/uploads/MACY-2019-Learning-from-Nelson-Mandela-FINAL.pdf