The Mayor of Saskatoon says the city needs to be better at supporting its youth.
Charlie Clark pointed to a circle of incarceration during Tuesday’s state of the city address.
Clark told the large T-C-U Centre crowd the youth incarceration rate in Saskatoon is twice the national average and the city needs to help deal with root causes.
“We only have to look at how much money we are spending on jails, how much money we are spending on emergency room visits, how much money we are spending right now on social services, on social assistance to see that the system is not working,” said Clark.
The Mayor suggested the challenge is breaking the cycle and turning potentially troubled youth into contributing members of society.
“This is going to be tough,” said Clark, but the mayor felt the long term benefit is worth the time and effort.
“Imagine what could happen if we can turn this around, imagine what will happen if we can make sure these young people will have a chance to fully succeed in our community.”
Clark stated 90-percent of inmates are indigenous and quoted a study indicating raising the education rate and employment opportunities for indigenous youth could mean 90-billion dollars to the provincial economy.
Clark said an announcement is forthcoming on a plan to work with municipal, provincial and federal stakeholders to address the problem.
“I would say in Saskatoon we are on the front lines of this issue because some of the incarceration rates on some of these issues are shamefully the worst in the entire country,” said Clark. .