Thompson healing lodge will provide addiction, mental health supports for Indigenous youth in justice system

Thompson healing lodge will provide addiction, mental health supports for Indigenous youth in justice system

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak receives $2M from the province to run centre

Thompson will soon get a new health lodge that will help pair northern First Nations youth in the justice system with culturally informed support. On Friday, Manitoba Justice announced $2 million for the creation of the centre and said more funds would be invested in the future. The lodge, to be run by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, aims to bring additional justice resources to the north, reduce recidivism rates and lower the use of Thompson RCMP's holding cells for non-violent, intoxicated youth. MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee says First Nations leaders have for many years advocated for real, immediate strategies to address overrepresentation of Indigenous people and youth in the justice system. The $2-million health lodge investment will first be used to provide services closer to home for northern youth and be informed by elders and knowledge keepers, Settee says. Those services will include creating local resources such as local, open-custody beds designed to help youth transition back into the community while they're also connected with traditional healing practices, Goertzen says. "We know that there are many youth that are getting sentenced to youth corrections and are serving their entire sentence often far away from their home, maybe in facilities that don't have the cultural connection to their faith and to their traditions, and that needs to change," Goertzen said at a news conference in Thompson on Friday. Phases two and three of the program will include the creation of the healing lodge itself, job and skills training and community justice resources, and increased mental health and addictions support. Youth in the Thompson area who are detained under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act currently are placed in cells in the local RCMP detachment. The health lodge program would provide spaces for those youth and find transitional housing for those at-risk.

 

Original Article Link:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/northern-youth-offenders-manitoba-1.6397586

 


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