The Value of a Community-Based Approach to Youth Crime

Since 1996, 24 Youth Justice Committees have been established to serve 230 Calgary communities. As a result, over 12,000 Calgary youth have been diverted from the youth court system. Youth Justice Committees handle approximately 70% of the Extra-judicial Sanctions caseload for the entire city of Calgary.

Research suggests the sooner youth are engaged after committing a crime, the more directly they will relate consequences to their offence. Youth Justice Committees expedite the process of young people being held responsible, thereby attaching meaning to the consequences that are administered.

The Committees are designed to provide a supportive experience that helps greatly reduces the likelihood of re-offence. The work of Calgary Youth Justice Committees creates social value in two ways:

  1. By providing an efficient, effective response to youth crime
  2. By preventing future crime. Statistics from the Solicitor General’s Office show that 80% of young people who go through the YJC program are not charged again within 3 years of completion.

Most youth have not fully considered how a minor, first-time offence resulting in a criminal record can affect future employment and career prospects, education, and travel outside of the country. By successfully participating with a Youth Justice Committee, young people can avoid a formal youth record.

The Youth Justice Committees Program Generates a 400% ROI

Youth Justice Committees return over $4 in savings to the community for every $1 spent. Youths who complete the program are far less likely to re-offend and are diverted from entering the formal justice system.

By reducing the load on the formal justice system and decreasing the chances of future run-ins with the law, Youth Justice Committees increase efficiencies resulting in an impressive 400% return on investment.

For more information on how these numbers are calculated, click here.

Benefits:

For The Young Person

  • Increased accountability and awareness of their actions
  • Learn to explain the situation in their own words.
  • Avoid a formal youth record if they remain crime-free for a period of 2 years
  • Develop positive relationships with adults in the community

For The Family

  • Case is handled expediently and efficiently
  • Family needs are considered. Referrals can be made to address family difficulties
  • Feel that someone is listening and willing to help

For The Victim

  • Have an opportunity to express how the crime has affected them
  • Restitution, if applicable, may be used to help repair the harm that was caused

For The Community

  • Decrease the chance that the youth will re-offend
  • Shows youth that the community cares about what goes on there
  • Community work can be directed to where it is most needed
  • Opportunity to have a positive, effective impact on reducing youth crime
  • Provides an alternative to the court system for less serious offences