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Restrictions removed

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Digging a little deeper can give a public body the information it needs.

Randy, a youth in custody at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre (the Centre) called us to complain that Centre staff were monitoring his telephone calls with his aunt. He explained that one of his previous visitors had tried to bring cigarettes into the Centre so he understood why the Centre would monitor his calls with that person, but he felt it was unfair to also monitor his calls with his aunt.

Randy spoke to staff at the Centre about his concerns, but staff never explained why they were monitoring his calls with his aunt.

Feeling like he was being treated unfairly, Randy contacted us.

We investigated whether the Centre followed a fair process in responding to Randy’s concerns about call monitoring.

We spoke to the Centre Director and the Director of Operations, requested and reviewed records and reviewed the Youth Custody Regulation (the Regulation).

The Regulation gives the Centre the legal power to monitor a youth’s calls when there are reasonable grounds to believe a youth is participating in an activity that may threaten the management, operation or security of the Centre, or the safety of any other person.

When we connected with the Centre’s Director, we were told that the decision to monitor Randy’s calls was a result of previous attempts to bring contraband into the Centre. The Director also informed us that they review whether a youth may pose a risk to the Centre with certain community experts and that the reports received about Randy confirmed their suspicions. As a result, the Director decided that monitoring all of Randy’s calls was necessary because of the risk that he might try to bring contraband into the Centre.

However, after speaking with us, the Director took several steps to respond to Randy’s complaint. The Director directed staff to:

  1. Meet with Randy and explain the reasons for monitoring his calls.
  2. Speak with Randy’s aunt to discuss the restrictions on her telephone calls and visits with Randy and to let her know she could ask for a review of the decision.

Randy’s aunt decided to ask for a review and the Director called her directly to discuss the situation. After speaking to Randy’s aunt, the Director decided that the Centre would stop monitoring Randy’s calls with her. This decision would also apply to Randy’s uncle.

A staff member explained the Director’s decision to Randy and we followed up with him to make sure he was aware the restrictions were removed. With the complaint settled, we closed our file.

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