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Manitoba to commit $2.25 million to program aimed at reducing the number of Indigenous youth in the justice system

Manitoba to commit $2.25 million to program aimed at reducing the number of Indigenous youth in the justice system


A new three-year program aimed at keeping Indigenous youth in Manitoba out of the justice system will be funded through a social impact bond managed by Marymound, a social service organization in Thompson and Winnipeg, which will receive 2.25 million dollars if the program’s results are met, the province announced Monday.

The new program is called Zaagiwe Oshinawe Inaakonigewin, which translates to “love (of) youth (in) justice” in Anishinaabemowin, Marymoundelder-in-residence Louise Lavalleesaid, and incorporates indigenous knowledge to address the root causes of crime.

“I am confident that this program will have a positive impact on connecting young people with their culture, community and will help foster a more positive Indigenous identity and reduce involvement in the justice system,” said Premier Heather Stefanson in a news conference on Monday.

A minimum of 45 youth will be targeted, 30 in Winnipeg and 15 in Thompson over the three-year term of the program.

Each will have a “wrapper” team, which includes family, friends, ceremonies and other activities to determine what’s best for them, the news release said.

“When you engage in things that give you purpose and meaning in life, you are connecting to your sense of belonging,” said Marymound Executive Director Nancy Parker.

The program will help Indigenous youth as they transition through the justice system, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said at the press conference.

“If making time becomes wasted time, it ultimately becomes repetitive time,” Goertzen said.

Many of the youth targeted by the program deal with complex and intergenerational trauma, he said.

Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says the new program will focus on Indigenous youth as they transition out of the justice system to ensure their success. (Province of Manitoba)

The Zaagiwe Oshinawe Inaakonigewin program is funded through a new social impact bond operated by Marymound with the support of nine private sector investors, the press release said.

In 2015, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba introduced the idea of ​​issuing social impact bonds to fund the province’s social services, an approach the NDP and Liberals called ineffective.

Premier Heather Stefanson defended the use of social impact bonds during her time as families minister under the Pallister government and said they “focus on outcomes” at a 2019 press conference.

A social impact nexus brings together government, the private sector, non-profit organizations and other stakeholders to fund social programming, the province’s news release said. It uses private investment for seed funding, which is then repaid if project goals and cost savings are achieved.

Marymound Executive Director Nancy Parker says the goal of the new program is to reduce the number of days youth spend in custody by 46 percent. (Province of Manitoba)

The goal of the Zaagiwe Oshinawe Inaakonigewin program is to reduce the number of days youth spend in detention by 46 percent, Parker said. If program outcomes are met or exceeded, Marymound will receive $2.25 million from the Manitoba government.

Stefanson said he hopes the new program will help tackle gangs.

The government is also trying to take more steps to address high homicide rates in the province, she said.

“Today’s announcement is an example of what we can achieve when we work together, and I am confident that this initiative will improve the lives of our young people and their families and help make our communities safer for Manitobans to live, work and thrive,” she. said.




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