The Ministry of Children and Family Services has elected to close the Prince George Youth Custody Services Centre on March 31st, 2024.
According to the province, there has been a Canada-wide trend of fewer youth needing to be placed in custody following changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2019.
These changes focused on reducing the use of custody sentences for young people and considering the use of alternatives to charging for less serious offenses.
Other factors for this decrease include:
- B.C.’s strong commitment to early identification and interventions for youth at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system
- The success of community justice programs
- Our government’s commitment to anti-racism and to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system.
As of last month, the average number of youths in custody in BC was 21 with an overall operating capacity between 25 and 30 percent.
Furthermore, the average number of youth in custody has declined by 53% in the last five years according to provincial data.
With the PG closure looming, centralized youth justice services will be focused on the Burnaby location.
The province is working with unions to assist the approximately 50 staff members in PG with a number of choices regarding career options.
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services oversees government-owned properties and will look at options for a new use from groups and consult with local First Nations and the City of Prince George on the needs and wishes of the community and new opportunities for the site.