“Care” and Carcerality in a Colonial State: A Critical Exploration of Secure Residential Youth Care in Ontario

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2024-01-08

Authors

Baylis, Amy Sarah

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Abstract

Secure residential youth care has been employed as a mechanism of both protection and control for young people deemed vulnerable or “at-risk.” There is little academic literature in the Canadian context on this topic; this study will provide an overview of the historical and current landscape of secure residential youth care in Ontario including the identification of populations that are uniquely impacted by state-sanctioned confinement as a mechanism of “care.” I explore this topic through a critical discourse analysis that makes visible the ideological and political underpinnings responsible for the development of the legislative framework that enables secure care. I employ Critical Race Theory, Anti-Carceral/Abolitionist Feminism, and intersectionality as theoretical foundations and lenses through which I analyze the data which reveal the disparate experiences of Black, Indigenous, and queer youth in secure care. The results of this research will provide important implications for practice and considerations for further research. I propose that care models, extricated from carceral logics that contribute to the criminalization of youth, are possible and must be built upon the provision of robust, youth-informed, and dignity-centred supports.

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