Ground breaking in MistissiniOfficials from the Cree Nation of Mistissini, the Cree Health Board, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, as well as representatives of the architects, engineering and construction firms gathered in Mistissini for the ground-breaking ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of a Youth Custody Facility in Eeyou Istchee.

This event is of significance as it contributes to building the capacity to keep young Cree offenders and youth at risk closer to home. Like it was the case for the women’s shelters, the Cree-Quebec Judicial Advisory Committee (CQJAC) made a recommendation that a working group be formed to look at best practices for the construction and operation of such a facility. As they recommended, a framework agreement was concluded between the Cree Nation Government and the CBHSSJB to define how they would work collaboratively with regard to this facility.

Starting at the end of 2019, once the construction is completed, the facility will be staffed by Cree and programming will be offered in the Cree language. Culturally appropriate programs, such as land-based ones, will be used to help with the prevention or the rehabilitation of the offenders while allowing for the families and communities to remain involved in the healing process.