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My teen is in custody

Knowing what rights youth have can help both you and your teen understand his or her experience in custody. Youth also have responsibilities while in custody. These will be explained by staff at the facility.

Youth in custody must be told by staff about their right to a lawyer. They must also be informed how to file concerns or complaints in the facility or with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

Youth have other rights in a custody centre, including the right to:

  • participate in making a plan for their return to the community
  • have a say in decisions about their medical treatment, education, religion, discharge or a transfer
  • freedom from physical punishment
  • medical and dental care when it is needed
  • education, training or work programs based on their interests and abilities
  • proper, quality clothing that fits and is appropriate for different activities and the weather
  • well-balanced meals

Youth also have rights to privacy, including:

  • privacy in sending and receiving mail unless it breaks the law or includes things that aren’t allowed in the facility
  • some personal property
  • use of a telephone – but cell phones are not allowed
  • private time to speak with you, other family members, a lawyer or anyone representing them, such as the Child Advocate
  • religious practice

Legislative references to these rights and more details can be found:

Visiting your teen

Each centre has rules about visiting, but generally you will have to:

  • show ID
  • sign in a visitor’s log
  • leave your personal things in lockers or with staff during your visit
  • not give or receive anything from the youth without the approval of staff

Visits are in a room supervised for safety and security. Conversations cannot be overheard.