A decline in youth custody is leading the province to close the Agassiz Youth Centre in Portage la Prairie this summer.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says there has been a 73 percent decrease in youth incarceration since 2012 in Manitoba, resulting in AYC being less than 30 percent occupied.
“Like every province in Canada, the past decade has seen a very significant decline in youth incarceration, which has resulted in our youth facilities in both Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie operating at well under half capacity for the better part of a decade,” said Goertzen.
“While still a very difficult decision, it is challenging to operate a facility at 25 percent capacity at the same time there is overwhelming demand for facility support in many places in Manitoba.”
Once the facility closes on July 22, the province will look to provide more resources for youth community intervention initiatives.
Youth currently incarcerated at AYC will be moved to the Manitoba Youth Centre in Winnipeg, which has also been operating at less than 50 percent capacity for several years.
The province says there are fewer than 90 youth in custody, a decrease from more than 300 a decade ago but still more per capita than most provinces.
Affected staff who work at the facility will be matched with available work at other correctional facilities.
Watch Thursday’s announcement: