News Release - April 23, 1999
CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATION
Dr. Deborah Parker-Loewen, Children's Advocate will conduct an
investigation into the treatment of a 17 year-old youth, who had been
held at a remand facility in Saskatoon. The investigation announced
today will also examine the existing policies and practices that led
to an incident which occurred in January 1999.
The incident involved a youth who had been placed in an isolation cill
and had been physically restrained by facility staff. As a result of
the events which followed, the youth was charged with allegedly
assaulting a facility staff person and uttering threats.
On April 15, 1999, Provincial Court Judge Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond
released her judgement on the two charges. Her judgement specifically
made reference to the role of the Children's Advocate. Her judgement
stated, "I would encourage the Crown, and in particular the Department
of Social Services, to immediately review the propriety and observance
of current policies on isolation cells, restraint policies and use of
police cells. This situation should also be brought to the attention
of the Saskatchewan Children's Advocate (Paragraph 106)."
As a result of the Judge's reference to the Children's Advocate
and with the permission of the youth involved, the Children's
Advocate decision to investigate this matter is being made
public. In announcing the investigation, Dr. Parker-Loewen
stated, "The issues identified in this case, the use of
restraints, police cells and isolation cells, have been concerns
of the my Office for some time. These issues were raised in my
1996 and 1997 Annual Reports and have been previously brought to
the attention of the Department of Social Services by my Office."
The investigation is being conducted under the authority of The
Ombudsman and Children's Advocate Act. Upon completion of the
investigation and in accordance with the Act, the Children's
Advocate will report any findings and recommendations to the
Minister of Social Services.
For information, contact:
communications and Public Education coordinator
Phone: (306) 933-6706
Fax: (306) 933-8406