Toronto Youth Assessment Centre - JAIL should close

Editorial: Youth centre's time has run out

The Toronto Star, December 19, 2003

It's time to shut down the Toronto Youth Assessment Centre, an Etobicoke detention centre famously described by a family court judge as "a hellish institution reminiscent of both Dickens and Lord Of The Flies." In a disturbing report released this week, Ontario's child advocate, Judy Finlay, described "chaotic, unsafe" conditions at the centre, complete with violence, bullying, intimidation and mock courts.

After reading the report, one can only wonder what the staff and management are doing when teenagers are beating up other teenagers.

The report certainly is not the first inclination of serious trouble at the centre. An official at the centre testified last summer in court that violence was a regular occurrence, with up to 20 incidents a week, some involving gangs, weapons, and serious injuries requiring hospitalization.

More light will be shed on the inside workings of the centre at an inquest scheduled to begin next month into David Meffe's death 14 months ago. The 16-year-old's family has also launched a lawsuit, alleging jail staff failed to prevent the mentally ill boy from hanging himself, although they had been warned he was suicidal. The allegations have not been proved in court, and the government has said it will fully defend the case.

Still, Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter has agreed the centre should be closed. Plans are underway to replace it with a new facility.

But a new building is years away. He should act now and he can.

Recent changes in the young offenders laws have drastically cut the number of teens being incarcerated. That means there are lots of vacant beds in detention centres across Ontario, including nearby facilities in Hamilton, Oakville, Brampton and Cobourg. It is worth noting that none of these facilities suffer anything like the problems seen in Toronto.

Finlay believes conditions at the centre are so bad that the most vulnerable kids should be removed immediately. She also wants monitors from her office to be sent to the centre to ensure the safety of remaining youths.

Certainly, the building on Horner Ave. is not ideal. Until recently, it didn't have recreational facilities, the rows of cells are hard to monitor, and teen inmates are routinely kept in their cells for 21 hours a day.

But this is not just a bricks-and-mortar problem. Reading between the lines of Finlay's report, it's clear the problems stem partly from how the centre is run, and the quality of the staff and management.

"Staff misconduct occurs with a limited number of staff," Finlay writes at one point in her report. And at another, "Most youth believed that a lack of supervision and close observation by staff contributed to a fear of being at risk of peer violence." She adds: "The institution does not appear to have an overall strategy to address peer violence."

If true, then Kwinter should fire those in charge, and any staff found to have abused or unnecessarily provoked the teens to violence.

The public may be tempted to turn a blind eye to all of this, believing these troubled teens get what they deserve, or that harsh treatment in jail might make them think twice about getting into trouble again.

But the youths in the detention centre will be back on the street within a few short years. Do we want them to be ticking time bombs? Far better for them, and for society, that they take the courses in anger management, substance abuse, leadership and recreation that are the norm in other youth facilities in Ontario.

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Paternity Fraud

Sunday Times

DNA: Why the truth can hurt

The Sunday Times
March 27, 2005

IT sounded too good to be true and it was.

The fairytale that saw Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott reunited with the son he thought he had given up for adoption 27 years ago, ABC sound-recordist Daniel O'Connor, ended this week when DNA tests confirmed another man had fathered Mr O'Connor.

The revelations were devastating for all involved, not least Mr O'Connor.

Still reeling from the emotional reunion with his mother, Kathy Donnelly, and Mr Abbott a few months ago, a simple test of truth has thrown the trio into disarray a situation familiar to thousands of other Australians.

Paternity testing in Australia is a burgeoning industry.

The simplicity of the test cells are collected from a mouth swab grossly underestimates the seriousness of the situation.

Infidelity Causes Paternity Fraud

Time magazine - Infidelity - It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Infidelity--It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Devotion and betrayal, marriage and divorce: how evolution shaped human love.

Paternity Fraud - Civil Lawsuit
Unfaithful mother fined $120,170

Courier-Mail Newspaper

Unfaithful mother fined $120,170

From correspondents in Rio de Janeiro
Agence France-Presse

September 18, 2007

A BRAZILIAN woman has been ordered by the country's Supreme Court to pay a hefty fine to her husband for failing to mention that he was not the father of two of their children.

The Rio de Janeiro woman, whose identity was not disclosed, was ordered to pay her husband over $US100,000 ($120,170 Australian Dollars) for having hidden from him for almost two decades that the children in question were fathered by a lover, the court's offices said yesterday.

The husband also had sought damages from his wife's lover, the court said.

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

A Quote Worth Remembering

About The truth

"All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as self-evident."

Arthur Schopenhauer