Northern Integration Initiative
Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Adult offenders; Gang-involved (and/or at risk); Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours; Gang and/or related criminal activities; Recidivism
Setting: Rural/remote area; Community-based setting
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
The Northern Integration Initiative is a program that aims to reduce the high number of violent crimes and the number of violent re-offences for youth at risk of joining gangs or engaged in gang-like activities. This program is based on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP)Footnote1 approach which states that, through frequent contact and consistent support, youth will increase their successes in school, employment, and other targeted areas.
The program is centered on cognitive behavioural therapy; community mobilization; conflict resolution; counselling and social work; leadership and youth development; mentoring – tutoring; skills training; and social emotional learning.
The main goals of the Northern Integration Initiative are to:
- Develop supports for high-risk youth that offend violently and may be gang-involved;
- Reduce violent re-offending among youth, particularly First Nations/Aboriginal youth and young adults, by addressing existing service gaps; and
- Deliver sufficient targeted services and supports for violent offenders who may be gang-involved to successfully connect with and stay connected to community resources that provide pathways to exit gang life.
The appropriate clientele for the Northern Integration Initiative are youth between the ages of 12 and 24 who have a history of violence, have gang affiliation, or are at risk of being recruited into gangs, and who may be at risk of reoffending.
Participants are referred to the Northern Integration Initiative by youth workers, probation officers, or community stakeholders.
To participate in the program, youth must have known patterns of aggressive behaviour with or without formal charges. Youth must also identify as having gang associations and must display motivation or a willingness to accept assistance from the program.
The Northern Integration Initiative consists of:
- Individual community safety plan support: Individualized supports are provided to the identified youth or young adults. These support activities are based on the factors identified as contributing to the offending behaviour;
- Community-based activities: Youth are provided with opportunities to participate in meaningful community-based programs or activities consistent with risk management and reduction objectives; and
- Mentoring: Youth identify with a staff member as someone they may contact for support and assistance when needed.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The lead organization must have solid skills in outreach, intake and assessment, case planning, and program delivery.
- Partnerships: It is important that the Northern Integration Initiative collaborate with other government ministries in order to deliver integrated responses to the issue of youth crime. Community-based organizations are another critical element in the ministry’s service delivery continuum designed to meet the needs of a diverse group of youth whose offences span from minor property up to and including serious violent offences.
- Training and technical assistance: Staff must be trained in the YVRP approach and on how to adequately administer risk assessment tools and identify potential participants.
- Risk assessment tools: Youth are evaluated using the Saskatchewan Primary Risk Assessment (SPRA) and the Level of Service Inventory – Saskatchewan Youth Edition (LSI-SK).
- Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the Northern Integration Initiative between 2015 and 2020. The Northern Integration Initiative is being implemented by the Government of Saskatchewan.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of The Northeast Youth Violent Reduction Partnership (NYVRP) was completed between April 2015 and March 2020 by The University of Saskatchewan’s Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies. The evaluation employed a mixed methods design, where emphasis was equally placed on qualitative (e.g. interviews, observations, casefile review, etc.) and quantitative (e.g. surveys, pre-post risk assessment analysis, pre-post custody/remand analysis, etc.) data collection and analysis practices.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- The NYVRP helped the youth achieve many of the program’s intended outcomes, such as reduced violence, fewer interactions with the criminal justice system, increased involvement in cultural and prosocial activities, a moderate reduction in gang involvement, increased adoption of prosocial attitudes, improved interpersonal and communication skills, increased compassion and respect for others, reduced risk scores, reduced substance use, improved understanding of the importance of rules, and increased mental health.
- Three main unintended outcomes were also observed, including NYVRP youth displaying greater self-esteem and confidence, the establishment of a positive and trusting relationship between NYVRP youth and program staff, as well as the NYVRP helping youth meet their basic needs (e.g. NYVRP often provided the youth with snacks/food).
The average cost of the program per participant was $29,986 and the average cost per program completer was $63,231.
Jewell, L., Akca, D., Mulligan, S., & Wormith, J. S. (2020). Northeast Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (NYVRP). Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to Public Safety Canada. (Unpublished report).
For more information on this program, contact:
Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing
710-1874 Scarth Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4B3
Telephone: (306) 787-5699
Record Updated On - 2023-02-22
For more information on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP), refer to the program descriptive sheet.
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