Quebec centres Vow to Stay the Course

10 Jan, 2013

Despite losing a battle with Ottawa over its plan to get tough on young offenders, Quebec’s youth centres are vowing to maintain the province’s policy of rehabilitation and reintegration, which has led to some of the lowest recidivism rates in Canada.

“Research has shown that just being punitive doesn’t bring about the results we need—you have to look at the whole rehabilitation and reintegration aspect,” said Cathy Di Stefano, assistant provincial director with Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, who deals with young offenders.“We know just doing time is not effective. Our programming is going to remain the same,” Di Stefano said.

“Since 1908, the identity of young offenders has been protected in Canada,” said Pierre Hamel, the director of legal affairs for the Association des centres jeunesse du Québec. “Now a very large number of youths are susceptible to having their identity revealed, even if they receive a youth sentence. It’s already a challenge for them to go back to school or get a job, imagine if their name is in the newspaper or on social-media sites. The new sentencing guidelines seek to punish the offender rather than focus on why the crime was committed,” Hamel said.

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