TLA voices concerns over folding youth court into Toronto 'mega-courthouse'
November 27, 2017
Posted by: Sandra Porter
Minors accused of crimes are set to lose out when Toronto’s youth courts are absorbed into a planned downtown “mega-courthouse,” Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) president Melanie Manchee tells AdvocateDaily.com.
With a tentative completion date of 2021, the new $1-billion courthouse near University Avenue and Queen Street West is due to consolidate most of the city’s criminal courts, including the dedicated youth court housed at 311 Jarvis St.
But Manchee says that dealing with everyone at a site designed for adults in the criminal justice system does those under 18 years old a disservice.
“Youths are differently situated than adult offenders and accused, and they need to be treated differently. That becomes more difficult when they are placed in the same facility,” she says. “It’s virtually impossible to achieve an appropriate level of separation at the new courthouse. Even if they’re on a different floor, they come in through the same entrances and wait at the same elevators, so any segregation is more illusory than reality."
On Tuesday, November 28, Peacebuilders Canada, with the support of TLA and other partners, will host a discussion on the future of the youth courts; community members, justice professionals, and families will have their say about the move, and their hopes to convince the province’s Ministry of the Attorney General to change its plans.
The meeting will take place from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Artscape Sandbox, 301 Adelaide St. W. in Toronto. Registration is free at peacebuilders.eventbrite.ca.
Read the full article.