Ryan Espey: Juvenile Counsellor
While keeping Manitobans safe, I really believe I can make a difference in the lives of some of these young men.
Local 12 - Civil Service, Corrections Component
A juvenile counsellor’s job is all about two different, but intertwined goals: protect the public and provide young offenders with a real chance of leaving their criminal lifestyle behind.
“For many of the kids I work with,” says Ryan Espey, a competitive arm wrestler and Juvenile Counsellor at Agassiz Youth Centre, “victimization has become a way of life. So I’m there to instill positive values and help put them in touch with the kinds of resources they need to deal with the issues that brought them in conflict with the law in the first place.”
In other words, while managing young offenders in a correctional facility is a key part of his role, Espey believes counseling is what truly can make a lasting difference when it comes to public safety.
“Public protection is part of the job,” Espey says, “but if I don’t try and have a positive effect while they’re in our custody, then they’ll continue right down the path that brought them into trouble. By modeling positive values and presenting viable options, I have a chance to point them down a better road.”
Espey feels strongly that a justice system that simply warehouses, then releases young offenders, is doomed to erode public safety in the long term.
“After serving their time, young offenders would leave facilities like Agassiz just a little older, bigger, stronger and more street smart. Left with nothing but a “might makes right” mentality, many of the young offenders I work with are on their way to becoming much more dangerous criminals.”
That’s why Espey is so passionate about what he does. “While keeping Manitobans safe, I really believe I can make a difference in the lives of some of these young men.”