Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Education for detained Ontario kids differs in terms of quantity and quality

Key takeaways:

  • The amount and quality of schooling provided to children in correctional camps in Ontario vary significantly.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the disparities, but they appear to be caused by variances in corporate culture.

According to new research by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the quantity and quality of education provided to kids in Ontario’s detention centers varies substantially by the facility. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated those disparities.

As per the analysis, which is based on interviews with adolescents who have spent time in facilities and adults involved in the youth justice system, there are significant variances in the number of hours of instruction offered to youth in each facility.

There are also variances in the breadth and depth of programming available. According to the report, participants in some facilities expressed worry that adolescents were being handed high school credits without having acquired the content to make the center “appear good,” according to the report.

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According to the letter released Tuesday, this results in “vastly varied educational experiences and chances for a youngster, depending on the facility they occurred to be placed in.”

According to the research, the amount and quality of schooling provided in facilities differed significantly from that provided to pupils in community schools, where the usual school day is five hours, excluding breaks.

It points out that Ontario school boards are not obligated by law to provide education in adolescent detention centers but do so through voluntary partnerships that can be terminated at any moment, “resulting in major disruptions to teenagers’ education.”

“The idea that adolescent jails maybe schools, places of hope, sites of education, and places of progress is meant to be the silver lining behind every kid’s terrible experience,” Michael Bryant, the CCLA’s executive director, said Tuesday.

“The good news is that some facilities are trying extremely hard to provide the greatest possible education to inmates’ children. The bad news is that, in certain facilities, child jails are little more than human warehouses, places where youngsters don’t get better and, in some cases, get worse.”

ACCORDING TO THE PAPER, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the disparities, but they appear to be caused by variances in corporate culture.

According to the research, certain institutions treat adolescents as “security hazards to be managed” rather than pupils who deserve an education. This is especially real in cases where the majority of the youth are Black.

Quantity and quality of education for detained youth varies across  facilities

According to the report, a decision was made in one security-focused facility to separate youth living in various units because it was believed that allowing them to mix would constitute a security risk. As a result, schooling hours were split into living units, with one set attending solely in the morning and the other in the midday, according to the report.

The study makes 19 recommendations, including setting basic educational requirements in youth detention centers and reviewing the educational programs now available.

The study began in 2016 and included more than 50 interviews, with around a quarter of them teenagers. Everyone who took part was a self-selected volunteer.

Participants had to be 16 years old or older and have spent time in a correctional center within the previous five years.

The CCLA claims it was given permission to conduct interviews in four sites earlier this year, but due to the pandemic, the interviews had to be conducted remotely. Interviews with adults, on the other hand, began in 2017.

It further claims that only male-identifying kids and no Indigenous youth agreed to participate in the experiment, implying that “many key young views are missing.”

Youth need “the right services and interventions that react to their individual needs, while also ensuring accountability,” according to a representative for the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

Merrilee Fullerton’s director of communications, Krystle Caputo, said in a statement that “youth in custody have access to education through local school boards to guarantee a continuation of learning.” “We also provide programming to assist youngsters in developing their abilities so that, upon release, they can become positive, contributing members of society.”

Source: Global News

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