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Would you want a locked youth detention centre in your neighbourhood?

The City of Dorval is attempting to rally support from its citizens in its last-ditch effort to block Batshaw Family Services from operating what is being called a “closed” or “locked” detention facility for young offenders in the heart of the municipality.

The city doesn’t want to have a jail for young people convicted of crimes as young offenders at the corner of Dorval and Dawson Aves.

The Quebec Court of Appeal doesn’t agree. In August, the court gave Batshaw the green light to go ahead with its plans to transform its premises in Dorval, a youth centre, into a locked detention facility.

The city is not giving up, though. It has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the case. It has offered Batshaw the possibility of building a new facility in Dorval’s industrial park, away from its residential and commercial sectors. But Batshaw has declined. It wants to open the new detention centre in the existing building.

Residents of Dorval, about 5,000 of them, have signed a petition against Batshaw’s plan and in support of the city’s court challenge to stop it.

What would you do?

As one resident quoted by reporter Cheryl Cornacchia put it: “It’s a jail. There is going to be a 12-foot fence with barbed wire on top.”

Would you want that in your neighbourhood?

Yes, the facility will only house young offenders, individuals who were under the age of 18 when convicted. But they could be convicted of just about any serious and violent crime. Would you want it in your neighbourhood?

An executive director with Batshaw counters with the fact that many of the people who will be serving time at the new facility will be primarily people who come from the West Island and west end of Montreal. Does this sway you?

It’s an interesting debate. Where do you come down on the issue?

Brenda O’Farrell

32 comments

  1. I received a notice with my mail yesterday regarding a petition to block Batshaw from expanding the group home on Dawson St in Dorval. I don’t understand why people rally to block any sort of group home in their nieghourhoods. I have lived on Dorval Ave since 1990, right around the corner from the facility, and cannot recall one incedent involving these kids. Sure from time to time I hear teenagers walking by and talking as loud as possible, but they don’t have to be from Batshaw, all (most) teens are loud try taking a bus anywhere near any school, and you’ll get my drift.
    These kids need our help, not stupid petitions, they are living there for various reasons not just because they are being punished. My own child spent 3 months in one such place because I was a single Mom with health issues. It could happen in your family, too, where do you think your children should go???

    • By Frustrated!

      Ms Clarkin, clearly you have not read the petition properly and you seem to be completely misinformed! NO ONE is disputing the current facility that is there now, EVEN THOUGH it is RIDDLED with serious issues of its own. I don’t live anywhere near that building and even I am aware of the constant police visits to the facility and the spectacle that takes place, right there on their front lawn, for the entire neighborhood to witness and endure, as they have been for years! If you had done any form of research or even spent some time to educate yourself about this issue that has been going on for years now (of which you only discovered “yesterday”, and SURPRISINGLY you live next door) your comment would have been more worth responding to. I have children too, and to answer your question, they would NEVER EVER, EVER end up in a place like that, that is for certain.

      • “Frustrated” , you are just that. Flying off the handle and advertising to the world at large that your kids will never end up ‘in a place like that’” is both a positive and negative statement. I think you mean to say that you ‘hope’ your kids never end up in a place like that. Despite our best intentions as parents, ANYTHING can happen. I speak from experience (and no, I’m not a down-and-out welfare recipient type of individual). Your comments to Ms. Clarkin demonstrate the kind of intolerance of some individuals living in Dorval.

        I lived across from this facility quite a few years ago. Yes, it’s difficult. No, it’s not pretty sometimes, and yes, the police will definitely visit on occasion. Consider the alternative: life on the streets for these children, getting sucked up into the drug-running business (recruiters are all over Montreal, just waiting to pay these kids’ bus tickets to sunny Vancouver for this purpose), or something worse. I’m so glad that you don’t feel the need to adjust your own comfort bubble, but some of us out here don’t have our heads up our butts quite as far as you do.

        I’m not a huge fan of Social Services anywhere, but this facility is required. Some of us actually want to make things better, not hide and pretend that some kids don’t need help. I support Batshaw to the fullest; I know people who have worked tirelessly there. I’m so sorry if you can’t handle this social ‘dustball under the sofa’. Too bad we can’t vacuum it up, hmmmm?

        • By Frustrated!

          Again from your comments too, KitKat, I can see your ignorance on this issue. First, let me make something very clear to you. I don’t HOPE that my children will ever end up in a criminal youth detention center, because they NEVER will. My children are brought up with a strong faith, morals and values, so I won’t even waste my time with you on this! And CLEARLY, you don’t understand what a closed custody detention center is at all. A closed custody detention center is not at all the open youth center that is presently there, that you are describing. The so called “children” are convicted youth criminals of serious crimes and the only reason they cannot be tried in an adult court is because of their AGE. Make no mistake; the age has nothing to do with the severity of their crime. Pick up a newspaper and look at the serious crimes committed today by youths aged 15 to 17. Most of them continue the life of crime even after having spent time in youth centers, so obviously the rehabilitation process is not working. So what difference does it make, if it’s in an industrial area or not. We are missing the point here. Do you remember the murderers of the Toope family? What age were they? Where do you think they spent their detention time? Do you know where they are today? Well, today they are criminals recruiting other criminals! Maybe it’s you that needs to come out of a bubble.
          You ‘lived’ near the center. Well, obviously you no longer do. Most probably, no longer in Dorval. And everyone that thinks that this is a great idea, are people that do not live in the Dorval, or people like you, who either know people of Batshaw, or work there or whatever other personal connection they have.

    • By CONCERNED CITIZEN

      TO: Miss Barbara Clarkin

      Usually, I do not get involved in these kinds of things. After having read this story, I have changed my mind entirely.

      I will only post the things that seem to be most pertinent and urgently related to this article:

      God forbid that you ignore these clear messages about how our children are being harmed and by whom:

      http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/quebec-foster-care-concerns/16az61g1n

      http://www.wattpad.com/6830532-the-government%27s-child-chapter-twentysix-a-letter

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/91121912@N04/8275037699/sizes/l/in/photostream/

      http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/montreal/story.html?id=ccb07dcf-2cd8-4f3d-9afc-5033557a811e

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/91121912@N04/8278947837/sizes/l/in/photostream/

      http://www.examiner.com/article/batshaw-the-office-of-the-local-service-quality-and-complaints-commissioner

      http://www.montrealgazette.com/Pregnant+woman+sues+Batshaw+social+worker/7281624/story.html

      http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=35425d60-48c1-4fb8-a78e-6cecfff471bb&k=25940

      This last one is in French – but I am convinced that it relates very much to the debate at hand – as this is an account of a young Quebec – Canada – CHILD – who was suffering from a simple and NONFATAL blood infection and who DIED as her condition worsened – this while staff IGNORED her condition. STAFF JUST LIKE THE ONE’S YOU JUST READ.

      This poor poor child DIED excruciatingly – while apparently being PROTECTED by the Government of Quebec ( IN A CLOSED YOUTH PROTECTION CHILDRENS FACILITY”"” JUST LIKE THE ONE THAT BATSHAW WANTS TO EMBED / BUILD IN DORVAL QUEBEC). The staff of the CENTER watched her as she SLOWLY and painfully DIED …… which staff were ever so professional so as to SCIENTIFICALLY indicate at what times she DEFICATED – URINATED and VOMITED all over herself – repeatedly – and how many times that this happened – BEFORE SHE ACTUALLY DIES. WOULD YOU WANT YOUR OR YOUR NEIGHBORS CHILD TO GO THROUGH THIS? GOD HELP YOU IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES!

      http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/actualites/justice-et-faits-divers/201109/21/01-4450060-deces-de-rebecca-levesque-dans-un-centre-jeunesse-seule-face-a-la-mort.php

      http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Quebec/2012/10/22/004-rebecca-levesque-poursuite.shtml?fb_action_ids=377348015678528&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

      http://sosquebec.com/

      GOD FORBID ANYONE WHO IS PART OF THIS INSANITY ……………. but we as citizens WILL NOT condone these things any more! WE VALUE THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN 1,000,000% UNQUESTIONABLY.

  2. By Anna Kelly

    Obviously , the previous writer has not understood what the petition is about. With regard to children who need help as her own child did there has for many years been a place for these children in Dorval. What thousands of Dorval citizens are against is a locked building i.e. a prison , being built for young criminal offenders in a residential area and ,also, I might add beside the home for children in need of care.

  3. As a resident of Dorval for the past 12 years now , I love my community ! I love it because I feel safe and secure . I signed the petition because I don’t feel safe with such a facility in my community . I am a mother of four and even though I don’t live close to this facility my children and I am constantly in that part of town . This facility is in the heart of Dorval where our grocery store , mall , and local wall-mart are . I don’t want to sound cold or mean but it frustrates me when people and Batshaw say “it’s local West Island kids ” who will be living there like that’s suppose to make it better ! I don’t care where they come from if they are criminals I don’t want them in my community ! There’s a reason it’s a lock down facility and theres a reason for the 12 foot barbwire fence and that’s because it will house some serious offenders ! I think the city of Dorval was more then fair when they offered them another building in the industrial sector . I really hope this decision is overruled by the supreme court of Canada ! Just my two cents !

  4. By alanestrand

    The facility in question is not a respite for teens in need. It is a juvenile prison for young adults who have been convicted of violations of the Criminal Code, e.g., murder, rape, burglary, forcible confinement, possession of illegal weapons. These are not nice children, even if most of them are from the West Island. The should not be housed in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, where, given the inadequate security we may expect from the bleeding hearts at Batshaw, we may reasonably expect them to escape and terrorise the neighbourhood. The industrial park is too close. May I respectfully suggest an island in arctic waters.

  5. “Omg I don’t want criminals in my community!”. God, you stuck up morons are why I left the West Island. Do you ever wonder why no one likes Westies? You are all stuck up brats. This is a place that will help these kids. Yes, it is essentially a prison, but where do you want it to go? “Oh someone else’s neighbourhood!”. You guys act like there’s going to be crimes on your doorstep. A lot of it will be minor crimes, and it is locked, so what does it matter to you?

  6. Offer them another building in an INDUSTRIAL SECTOR??? That says a lot for how some people in Dorval value and respect the needs of the less fortunate. They’re CHILDREN! Do you think that sticking them far, far away in an industrial building is going to help them? Honestly!

  7. Honestly, it’s understandable that nobody wants to live beside a juvenile prison because it just looks bad. But take in consideration that it is not the look that matters but the intent of this construction. A closed center is the safest center to be around because these juvenile offenders do not travel in and out of the center freely. This is why I am talking about the look and not if or not if there will be crime at your doorstep. Also, please understand that this is being done to help bring together families that do not have means to travel to the other end of he city to visit their children a way to keep in touch with them physically and we all know family is the most important thing here. Look at the big picture, and not just what you see from your window.

  8. The attitudes around this facility are disappointing. Set up a facility for these kids in the industrial center? Reject children who have likely suffered rejection and loss many times already in their lives? Dorval, you are not the community you make yourself out to be. My mother worked in a locked Batshaw unit for years. What she saw were kids at risk, who made bad, bad choices and who were also looking for guidance and help. If a 5’3 woman survived inside the unit with these kids ( because that is what they are ) I am sure the community of Dorval can make this work. The selfishness and uncharitable tone of the residents putting forth this petition is awful. I hope Bathaw is able to find a quick solution so these children in need can get the services they need and deserve. And be assured, I am not naive to the problems some of the teens have run into, my parents were also foster parents and youth group leaders. These services change lives an are a necessary part of our community.

  9. OK lets get real here, we are NOT talking about a group home that needs to be located within our neighborhoods to aid in the rehabilitation of the clients. We are talking about a prison for young people that can and in some cases are as dangerous as adults. If you doubt that statement you could consult with the Toupe family as they have experienced first hand violent young offenders. I personally do not want to live across the street from a facility that has to erect 10 foot high fences topped with barbwire to keep the inmates from getting away. These inmates are not taking walks around the neighborhood so where it is located is of no consequence to them because they are going to be driven to the facility in handcuffs and driven away from the facility at the end of their term or for trips to court…… Locate the facility in an area where nobody has to live next door and suffer the security risk, the eye sore or the devaluation of their property values. Frankly if something happens and there is an escape young people walking around the industrial park are 1) easy to spot 2) somewhat confined because of less buses and last but not least 3) are not next door to anybody so that the chance of a home invasion would be reduced.

  10. By Dorval or not

    Hey KitKat, why did you move away? Maybe because of all the suspicious burglaries in the area, you know computers, ipads, ipods, stolen right out of our homes!! The only person who is flying off her handle here, seems to be you. Have a bit of class and if you really believe in the cause, how about showing it. Let’s start with the way you speak to people that you don’t even know. What’s with all the insulting comments? Did someone hit a nerve? Maybe you work for Batshaw and having it in Dorval saves on YOUR travelling costs. Last time I looked, 5000 people are against this. How about this since you seem to think it’s a great idea. Why don’t you BUY a home nextdoor to the place instead of taking the easy way out of a rental, which you no doubt have done!

  11. Humm And peopll wonder where our kids learn how to Bully each other. West islander here … not very proud of my fellow westislanders right now. A prison is a prison it does not matter whom is in it (Juveis or adults) You do the crime you pay the time. batshaw has other facilites for Youth needing protection & help. this is a prison … check out the Kingston Pen or the Tangauy Prison. look at the crime rates stats after they opened and the drop in property values after they opened, instead of bashing each other on a web site …. Bulling indeed.

  12. My hustand and I have lived close to Batshaw for years. We are not against Batshaw the way it is presently set up (open facility). What we are against is that it is now being turned into locked units where youths, who have been convicted under the Quebec Criminal Code will be incarcerated – you can call it whatever you want, but once you are incarcerated, it’s a prison. To place such a facility in the core of Dorval (corner of Dorval avneue and Dawson) is simply irresponsible to the elderly and young families of Dorval. There is already trouble in that area – why invite more. at this point in our lives, we do not want to live with the feeling of intimidation. Batshaw has alternatives. The residents of Dorval also have alternatives, and that is to move out of Dorval; however most residents do not have that perogative. The City of Dorval is trying to attract new residents – good luck!

  13. By Frustrated!

    We don’t have a police station here in Dorval. What kind of security will we rely on to guarantee our safety? Well according to Batshaw, this kind, one that requires a high school diploma, driver’s licence and proficiency in English:

    http://montreal.backpage.com/JobWanted/youth-intervention-officers-security-batshaw-youth-and-family-centresdorval-and-prvost/2890202

    According to Architects Goyette, Rancourt, Létourneau and associated, who have the designs right on their website:

    http://groupedes7.ca/projets-en-cours/centre-deducation-fondation-famille-batshaw

    who will be building the detention block cells “widely windowed” ……. “à l’ouverture sur la société, sur la ville, sur «le dehors» lieu important de l’expression de la liberté” ……………”for expression of freedom”….. “visual openness also on the history of nearby shopping center …. enable young people to perceive outdoor activity and feel a little less isolated.”

    Is this for real? This are youth criminals who have committed serious crimes like arson, rape, murder, drug dealing, prostitution and they are going to be looking outside those windows, right into the Dorval mall parking lot. Moms bringing their children to the local daycare found at the end of that parking lot. Elders, families, getting out of their cars to do their groceries. Does this honestly make any sense to anyone? This type of facility does not belong in the middle of ANY city. And I think it’s appalling how anyone, even if you don’t live in Dorval, think that this is just fine!

    The City of Dorval has given Batshaw so many options and they keep refusing them one after another. So, what kind of role models are the upper management of Batshaw anyway? If they wanted to set the right example to their youths and the future generations, instead of suing at every opportunity, work with your community and neighbors. But that wouldn’t be in the real world, now would it?

  14. By B Hiscock

    Wow, KitKat is ON FIRE HERE. Hey, listen up. What’s with the guilt card about children, children and more children? This is NOT about the children. Its about an agency which truly believes that they are (1) unstoppable, (2) supreme and (3) untouchable. ….

    I am seriously concerned about any planned expansion of this agency – especially in Dorval. Batshaw carries out their business ALWAYS claiming that SILENCE is necessary – this in order to protect the confidentiality of the users. I’ve spoken to many a users of this agency – and they all appear to have the same opinion: This agency DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH ANYONE WHATSOEVER. They are backed by the government and they have about 20+ attorneys working for them. So, do they listen to us when we speak? No!

    Anyone, anyone at all – working or not for Batshaw and who comes online and uses children as an excuse to try to get pity and remorse from individuals should remember one thing. The SHAFIA children…… remember the Shafia sisters…. who Batshaw was clearly told were suffering terrible abuse both psychologically and physically at home?

    Yes, batshaw closed their files and the young girls were thereafter murdered by their family. Yes, the same family who Batshaw was told by school officials WERE ABUSING THE GIRLS AT HOME. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Madeleine Berard – Batshaw youth and family centers DIRECTOR OF YOUTH PROTECTION – on TV….. stating that “it was a pity that Batshaw didn’t know about HONOR CRIMES beforehand”.

    What the heck does Honor Crimes have to do with the fact that Batshaw was clearly advised that these young girls were being terribly abused at home by their family members? NOTHING. If they would have drowned and died…. WOULD BATSHAW HAVE SAID “too bad we didn’t know about drowning beforehand?” NO!

    I keep seeing people put posts here and use the kids / children / youth as an excuse to try to extract empathy from us the citizens of Dorval.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE YOUTH………

    ITS’ ABOUT A RIGID, …… UNCOMMUNICATIVE……. BULLYING……… PROUD AND SAD AGENCY – WHO JUST KEEPS DIGGING A HOLE BIGGER AND BIGGER FOR ITSELF…… instead of coming off its high horse and treating people like human beings – which would most certainly find a quick and acceptable resolution to the present situation.

    WHEN AN AGENCY LAWFULLY MANDATED TO PROTECT CHILDREN – puts its pride before the best interests of the children……. ITS TIME TO START WORRYING FOR REAL!

  15. Hey Frustrated–>You are UNBELIEVABLE!! So called residence of Dorval who do not feel safe?? Where have you been the last 3 decades?? Because I was at that facility for almost 2 years when I was a teenager( 1991-1993). Now a 32 year old mother myself. To assume that we are all there because we are all hardened criminals is the dumbest thing I have ever herd. I was there because I was constantly runaway and would need to be in a locked facility so I couldn’t walk out the door. I NEVER had criminal charges against me! And I am very much in the position to say that I know for a fact that this is the same story as 92% of kids who are in locked facilities. Get your head out of your ass and wake up. This facility is needed! does it REALLY make a difference if they are a couple of miles to the left, Do you REALLLLY believe that will make a difference?? No, those same kids will still be going to Dorval mall, will still be on the dorval buses, and might also walk down YOUR street. Lock down facility doesn’t mean that these kids are never allowed outside. So your theory of out of sight, out of mind will do nothing to help the teens that need the facility.

  16. Everyone seems to be harping on the fact that’s is is a “closed” center. Let me enlighten you!! Shawbridge campus(located in Prevost) is a CLOSED Center, and every weekend there are buses filled with kids dropped off at a local metro station. The kids get off that transport and are supposed to be going to have there weekends with there parents. I will REPEAT MYSELF…a LARGE majority of youth in the ”closed centers” are NOT criminals!

  17. Frustrated just read your last blast of BS… Just to prove that your a irrational *** case.. You mentioned child prostitutes? Let me guess, you think that child prostitutes who are criminals?? Not VICTIMS of child trafficking?? WOW!! I suggest you crawl under the rock you came out from!

    • By Frustrated!

      Well, I can see HOW WELL rehabilitation has done for you! You definitely have anger issues! WOW, Mother of 2!!! And before you confuse everyone even more, if you were there from 1991-1993, you are just confirming to everyone, that this was an open unit facility. The facility that is there now, is and has been for decades, an open unit and NO ONE is disputing that. And as confirmed by Batshaw (Pascale Berardino, coordinator of legal services), the closed custody unit that will be built, will be housing criminal youths, that is youths who have been found guilty of violent crimes and sentenced under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). And that includes murder! You might want to get your facts straight, Oh, and by the way, I have never spent any time in any of these facilities, so technically you are the one that crawled out from under a rock and not me.

      • LOL… Say what you want.. I am sitting here laughing at you. Call me what you want, I know who I am and what kind of person I have become, and I sleep VERY well at night and am VERY proud of my life’s accomplishments. It must be really hard being you, that all you can do is rant on a website about what injustice this is to YOU, it obviously you are not speaking for you whole community, because they don’t all agree with you.. Just like it was mentioned by a previous post “your exactly that, frustrated”. Children are being convicted daily with murder, don’t you watch the news? lol… Listen you loonie,all about contradicting yourself, you said it was going to be a “CLOSED” facility RIGHT.. If this is the case, they will not be walking the streets, so why are you so scared for the families and elderly? All your trying to do is raise mass hysteria for nothing.

        Since you know ALL about batshaw and have never lived there a day in your life because your a stuck up ***** Princess,and all those who have had difficulties in life deserve to disappear and should all die because there is no chance of rehabilitation. We live in Canada where people believe in REHABILITATION of our children, may I suggest you go live in a communist country where they share the belief that lynching children who have committed crimes because they have committed a crime which doesn’t allow them to be constituted and human beings anymore!!!

  18. By Dorval or not

    Mom of 2, I think with that kind of attitude, you are surely to pass it on to your kids. I certainly feel sorry for you. If anyone, with that foul mouth of yours, you really need to stop using this post to rant. I’m actually disgusted reading all your posts, but not surprised after reading about your past. I also want to correct you, and like the previous person said, you really need to get your facts straight. There are over 5000 people that have signed a petition against building this prison in Dorval. Other communities are now taking measures that this mess does not end up in their neighborhood. I guess you don’t read the news! And yes, more youths are committing murder. I’m glad that you mention that here. If anything you are bringing more attention to the facts to the kind of criminals that will be housed in this prison of Dorval Batshaw. How would you like for your 2 children to grow up next door to this place? Well, nevermind, after reading your background and foul mouth here, I just got my answer. You are a bully! Your abusive! And we wonder why society needs facilities such as Batshaw! You are good example why. Good luck to you.

    • By Mother of 2

      Dorval or no… Let me repeat what I said earlier..Say what you want.. Call me what you want, I know who I am and what kind of person I have become, and I sleep VERY well at night and am VERY proud of my life’s accomplishments. You know absolutely nothing about my children..

      You wanna talk about bullies? You mean the residence of Dorval?Listen, somebody has to stand up for these kids and it obviously not the residence of Dorval. If she can’t stand the heat she shouldn’t be playing with matches and paper.

  19. By betty lecompte

    @ Mother of 2

    IS THIS WHAT YOU MEAN BY “”STANDING UP FOR THESE KIDS”"? I’VE READ YOUR POSTS SO FAR, AND HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AGAINST THEM OR ANYONE ELSE’S…….

    BUT IF YOU ARE WILLING TO “”IGNORE THESE NEWS REPORTS”", THEN I WILL BE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR BETTER JUDGEMENT: and even more so when it comes to the safety and welfare of your children
    BUT IF YOU READ THESE NEWS REPORTS AND YOU THEREAFTER “ACT RESPONSIBLY”….. YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE THE ONES TO GAIN IN THE LONG RUN ! WHY JOIN A SINKING SHIP?

    http://video.ca.msn.com/watch/video/quebec-foster-care-concerns/16az61g1n

    http://www.wattpad.com/6830532-the-government%27s-child-chapter-twentysix-a-letter

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/91121912@N04/8275037699/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/91121912@N04/8278947837/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    http://www.examiner.com/article/batshaw-the-office-of-the-local-service-quality-and-complaints-commissioner

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/Pregnant+woman+sues+Batshaw+social+worker/7281624/story.html

    MOTHER OF 2 ………………. WOULD YOU TRUST THIS AGENCY NEAR YOUR CHILDREN?

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