Judge calls lack of programming at WCC “absolutely appalling”

Michael Nehass made a shiv and attacked a guard during his stay at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

Michael Nehass made a shiv and attacked a guard during his stay at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

The inmate’s bad behaviour should have been reflected in his sentencing.

But Justice Ron Veale gave Nehass a break.

 “When someone is misbehaving in an institution, he would only get a 1.5 credit (for his time served),” said Veale last week, during Nehass’ sentencing in Teslin.

“But in circumstances like this where there is no opportunity to take any programming — I find it absolutely appalling — I am not going to give him 1.5.

“I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and give him two times the credit.”

Veale turned to Nehass.

“I am not doing this because you behaved well,” he said.

“You behaved badly.

“But every institution in this country, and particularly in this territory, should have proper programming.

“There is absolutely no excuse for any institution not to have (it).

“And I think it is absolutely appalling that the government doesn’t have that programming in place.”

In a court ruling four years ago, Nehass was described as having a “very troubled upbringing involving many upheavals, including the death of his mother.”

With a history of substance abuse, violence and homelessness, Nehass is believed to suffer from “conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” said the sentencing judge.

“In short, Mr. Nehass is a seriously disturbed youth in desperate need of treatment.

“However, at this point Mr. Nehass presents such a danger to himself and others that the only option is to provide the required treatment in a secure setting.”

But when Nehass eventually ended up back at the correctional centre, he didn’t get any treatment, said Veale.

“There is no core programming at the Whitehorse correctional institution at this time or during the time of incarceration prior to his sentence,” he said.

“And I find that absolutely appalling because your clan leaders make it very clear (Nehass) needs treatment — professional treatment.”

There is no core programming available for Nehass’ issues, like anger management, said his caseworker Kyle Keenan, who was a witness.

“And it doesn’t help a person like Nehass to be in an overcrowded (jail),” he said.

The correctional centre was built in the 1960s to house 40 inmates, said Keenan.

“Now there are upwards of 70 inmates — high 70s,” he said.

“It’s fair to say it’s overcrowded.”

The overcrowding isn’t as serious as the lack of programming, said inmate Thomas Corcoran on Tuesday.

The jail is getting $600,000 for renovations, he said.

“But they should allocated that money to new programming instead.”

Corcoran would like to see inmates offered training in the trades.

“It would give them working man’s pride,” he said.

“Right now, there’s no programming at all.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

City council meeting in Whitehorse on Feb. 8. At Whitehorse city council’s March 1 meeting, members were presented with a bylaw that would repeal 10 bylaws deemed to be redundant or out of date. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Out with the old

Council considers repealing outdated bylaws

A bobcat is used to help clear snow in downtown Whitehorse on Nov. 4. According to Environment Canada, the Yukon has experienced record-breaking precipitation this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon will have “delayed spring” after heavy winter snowfall

After record levels of precipitation, cold spring will delay melt

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

Most Read