Prevention Intervention Toronto (PIT)
Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Adult offenders; Gang-involved (and/or at risk); Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Topic: Gang and/or related criminal activities
Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
Prevention Intervention Toronto (PIT) is a 36-week intervention cycle that is comprised of three distinct phases: Needs Assessment (8 weeks), Group Training (20 weeks), and Integration (8 weeks). This set of complementary and integrated components is designed to facilitate change in risk and protective factors and behaviours.
The PIT program was centered on conflict resolution; counselling and social work; leadership and youth development; peer counselling and mediation; skills training; social emotional learning; and substance prevention/treatment.
The main goals of the PIT program are to:
- Reduce the participation in gang affiliated activities among gang-involved youth; and
- Prevent gang involvement among at-risk youth.
The appropriate clientele for the PIT program are youth between the ages of 13 and 24 who are either gang-involved or at risk of gang-related activity within three Toronto areas, particularly Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Denis, and Jamestown-Rexdale. Most participants have moderate to high levels of experience with the criminal justice system.
Participants are referred by their schools, community organizations, youth workers, and parents. PIT program case workers may also engage in community outreach activities in order to identify young people who might benefit from the PIT program. To participate in the program, youth must complete a screening process.
The PIT program is a 36-week intervention consisting of the following:
- A needs assessment phase: During the first eight weeks of the program, PIT participants meet with their assigned case manager to identify specific risk and needs factors that form the basis of the individualized program plans;
- A group training phase: During the following twenty weeks, participants receive one-on-one counselling to discuss topics, including gang violence, victimization, education, employment, anger management, health issues, financial management, family and peer relations, drug and alcohol use, mental health and personal development, and participate in eight hours of group training to further discuss these topics; and
- An integration phase: During the final eight weeks of the program, participants meet with their case managers in order to access various community resources that will facilitate their transition to a prosocial lifestyle.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The lead organization must be able to manage logistic elements which enable the program to happen. They must also have solid skills in outreach, intake and assessment, and program delivery.
- Partnerships: The success of the PIT program depends on its many partnerships with schools and school boards, parents, and other community-based organizations.
- Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- 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 PIT program in various community-based settings in Toronto, Ontario between 2009 and 2012. The PIT program was implemented by the Centre of Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation studyFootnote1 of the PIT program was conducted in 2009-2012 by the Centre of Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto. This evaluation was conducted using a quasi-experimental study and a multi-method strategy that involved a repeated measures design and a comparison group of youth who did not receive program services. Follow-up interviews were conducted with each group post-program (9 months), six months following the post-program, and one year following the pre-test.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- PIT program participants showed an increase in prosocial attitudes towards crime, violence and gangs, while scores for the comparison group showed no change between the pre- and post-test periods. This finding suggests that the PIT program contributed to a positive change in attitudes towards crime, violence and gangs. However, there were no statistically significant differences in attitudes towards education between the PIT program participants and the comparison group; and
- The favourable increase in positive attitudes was similar for both groups at the post-program and the six month follow-up measure. These favourable increases cannot be attributed to the program since youth who did not receive the program also experienced an increase in favourable attitudes at similar rates.
For more information, refer to the National Crime Prevention Centre’s (2013) publication.
In 2012, as part of the Centre for Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto’s outcome evaluation study, it was found that the average cost per participant in the PIT program was $13,723 CAD.
National Crime Prevention Centre. (2013). Prevention Intervention Toronto (PIT). Evaluation Summary. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Available from: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/prvntn-ntrvntn-trnt/index-eng.aspx
For more information on this program, contact:
There is no contact information available for the PIT program.
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
A process evaluation study of the program was also conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding. For more information, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.
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