Youth Diversion Model: Extrajudicial Sanctions

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)

Topic: Antisocial/deviant behaviours; Recidivism

Setting: Rural/remote area; Urban area; Community-based setting; Criminal justice setting

Location: New Brunswick

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The youth diversion program has existed in NB since 1984. In 2014, the New Brunswick youth diversion model, Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS), was redesigned to provide effective, efficient and timely community based alternatives to the court system by holding eligible youth accountable for their actions at the community level, while also linking them with required interventions to prevent future offending. The programs rely on involvement of police, crown, Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), community volunteers and other government service providers. The model is designed as a step-up from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) Intervention and Diversion Model (EJM).

Goals

The main goals of the Youth Diversion program are to:

  • Hold eligible young persons accountable for their actions at the community level;
  • Improve the use of justice system resources by providing timely and effective alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system; and
  • Prevent and reduce future crime by ensuring earlier access to the right services at the right time for those who require them.

 

Clientele

The clientele for the Youth Diversion program are youth (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) age 12-17 years old who have committed an offence and have not yet been charged (pre-charge) or who have been charged, but the crown has agreed to stay the charge pending successful completion of the EJS program (post-charge). To be eligible for EJS, the following conditions must be met:

  • There is sufficient evidence exists that an offence has been committed;
  • The offence is on the Province’s Youth Schedule of Offences;
  • The young person takes responsibility for the act that forms the basis of the offence; and
  • The young person cannot be sufficiently held accountable by an Extrajudicial Measure (taking no further action, verbal warning, police caution, referral to a community program or agency), and sanctions would be appropriate, having regard to the needs of the young person and the interests of society.

There is also a similar program for adults (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) age 18 or older who have committed an offence and have not yet been charged (pre-charge) or who have been charged, but the crown has agreed to stay the charge pending successful completion of the Alternative Measures program (post-charge).  For more information, consult the program description entitled "New Brunswick Adult Diversion Model: Alternative Measures".

 

Core Components

The youth diversion model is administered by the Department of Justice and Public Safety through the Community Services and Crime Prevention Branch. The new diversion models were authorized by the Attorney General of New Brunswick in June 2014 and changes were implemented as of April 1, 2015. These include:

  • Modifications to eligibility criteria;
  • Improved program oversight – Includes introduction of a Program Manager and establishment of the Provincial Diversion Steering Committee (PDSC) which is led by the Department of Public Safety and includes senior level representatives from Justice, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), RCMP, the New Brunswick Association of Chiefs of Police, Health, Social Development, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour (PETL) and Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD);
  • A province-wide increase in the number of diversion coordinators;
  • Introduction of evidence-based screening and assessment tools to gauge level of risk and potential mental health needs;
  • The use of multi-sector services based on Section 18 youth justice committees;   
  • Focus on intervention in addition to accountability;
  • The option to use a restorative justice process when deemed appropriate given the views of the victim and circumstances surrounding the offence as a way to repair the harm caused to the victim and community by the offence; and
  • Introduction of robust data collection for process and impact evaluation.

 

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Attorney General Authorization under Section 10 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act; applicable policy and program documents;  provincial program manager and oversight body (Provincial Diversion Steering Committee); regional oversight of program coordinators; program coordinators;  section 18 youth justice committees.
  • Partnerships: Strong partnerships with referral agents are required (Police and Crown), as well as service providers who are responsible for developing intervention plans as part of the section 18 youth justice committee. Partners include non-profit organizations such as the John Howard Society, First Nations groups and provincial Departments of Health, Social Development and Education.
  • Training and technical assistance: Initial training is required on the diversion model for both the program coordinator and s. 18 youth justice committee. Training is also required on the risk screening and assessment tools.
  • Risk assessment tools: Criminogenic risk screening and assessment tools used for the youth program include the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory: Screening Version and the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory 2.0, as well as the mental health screening tool, Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener version 3.0.1 CAMH (Modified).
  • Materials & resources: Screening and Assessment tools, Mental Health Screening tool, Risk Assessment Interview Guides, Scoring Keys, program-related forms (consents, program agreements, etc.)

International Endorsements

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

The Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is authorized by the Attorney General of New Brunswick and delivered by the Department of Public Safety. There are several program coordinator locations in the province with services being provided in local Probation Services offices and RCMP detachments.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

The Youth Diversion program has been operational since April 2015. To date, a process evaluation has been completed in an effort to ensure fidelity to program design. Planning for an impact evaluation is underway.

Cost Information

No information available.

References

Youth Extrajudicial Sanctions Program – Brochure. Available from: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/ps-sp/pdf/corrections/YouthExtrajudicialSanctionsProgram.pdf 

Ouellette, C. (2016, November). Youth Diversion Program Report. Prepared for Department of Justice and Public Safety, Government of New Brunswick.

 

For more information on this program, contact:

Department of Justice and Public Safety

Lisa Keddy

675 King Street

Fredericton, NB, E3B 1E9

Telephone: (506) 453-6434

E-mail: lisa.keddy@gnb.ca

Website: www.gnb.ca/publicsafety

 


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-15

Date modified: