Blueprint Pathways

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Adult offenders; Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Alcohol and/or drug use; Antisocial/deviant behaviours; Bullying/cyberbullying; Gang and/or related criminal activities

Setting: Criminal justice setting; Recreational/sport-based setting

Location: Alberta; Manitoba; Ontario

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

Blueprint Pathways, a program from the BluePrintForLife group, is an initiative that aims to empower youth in detention and custody facilities by using hip hop and group discussions on mental health. Blueprint programs tap in to the physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual health of youth using their unique format. Ultimately, the goal of the program is breaking the cycle of crime and gang involvement while helping the youth foster adaptive behaviours; these will improve the quality of their social environment and help them create better futures. Also to note, there are alternative projects such as Spoken Word and artwork activities for youth to be involved in if they prefer.

The program is centered on counselling and social work; leadership and youth development; mediation; mentoring and tutoring; and social emotional learning.


The main goals of the Blueprint Pathways program are to:

  • Increase the capacity for adaptive behaviour in incarcerated youth and break the cycle of crime and gang involvement;
  • Provide incarcerated youth the tools to increase adaptive behaviours and decrease maladaptive behaviours (such as bullying, substance abuse, and gang activities/involvement); and
  • Improve the social environment quality of the detention or custody facility.  


The appropriate clientele for the Blueprint Pathways program is young offenders (including youth of Aboriginal and ethnic identity) in detention and custody facilities.

Core Components

Blueprint Pathways’ main program is a week long, 9am – 5pm program that is facilitated by 5 to 9 staff members. The main program component includes the following:

  • Warm-up and Cool-down (Daily);
  • Dance Skills: Backspin, Top Roc, Freezes, Dance Routines – the Hustle, Stomp, Bucket Drumming, Traditional Culture (Lessons that build throughout the week);
  • Visualization/Meditation Exercises (Daily);
  • Journaling, Self-Reflection and Poetry (Ongoing);
  • Art Project – builds throughout the week; and
  • Final Showcase.  

There are also group discussion sessions between breakdance instructions that are led by the Blueprint staff. These discussions usually focus on topics such as cultural pride, anger management, respect, bullying, impulse control, and saying no to gangs and substance abuse. However, these topics can be adapted to meet the educational and cultural needs of the youth in the program when needed. Program staff are encouraged to participate with the youth in the program, as this can also help build stronger, more positive relationships between the youth and facility staff.

On top of the main program, certain youth are selected (through program staff consultations with Blueprint) to participate in Spoken Word workshops over the course of 8 to 16 weeks (2hrs/week). The goal of the Spoken Word workshop is to teach the youth that “literacy is a weapon”; writing has both therapeutic and cathartic properties, and youth are encouraged to build their vocabulary and claim their words in this practice. The program is usually run by two facilitators. The side program components include the following themes:

  • What’s your legacy? Write it and recite it. Take ownership of your words;
  • My Life Story;
  • Rebuilding concepts of loyalty and respect; and
  • The importance and significance of journal writing, and the value of keeping this practice over your lifetime.

Implementation Information

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

  • Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
  • Partnerships: Essential partnerships for the implementation of the Blueprint Pathways program is the BluePrintForLife group and the host juvenile custody or detention centre.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

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 Blueprint Pathways program has been implemented and evaluated at the following locations (among others):

  • Roy McMurtry Youth Centre (RMYC) in Brampton, Ontario in July 2015;
  • Agassiz Youth Centre (AYC) in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in September 2015;
  • Manitoba Youth Centre (MYC) in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October 2015;
  • William E. Hay Centre (WEHC) in Ottawa, Ontario in November 2015; and
  • Calgary Young Offender Centre (CYOC) in Calgary, Alberta in March 2016.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

Complete before and after survey sets were collected from 104 youth in total (15 RMYC, 27 AYC, 27 MYC, 9 WEHC, 26 CYOC) for the Main Program and 37 youth (5 RMYC, 12 AYC, 5 MYC, 5 WEHC, 10 CYOC) for the Spoken Word Program. It is important to note that the results presented in this section are from the preliminary stages of evaluation and come from small participant samples sizes, and should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Results from this evaluation showed the following (Blueprint Pathways, 2016):

Evidence supporting the goal of increasing the capacity for adaptive behaviour in youth included:

  • Improved motivation to change;
  • Improved sense of mastery (self-concept, confidence);
  • Improved ethnic pride; and
  • Increased hope (reduced fatalism).

Evidence supporting the goal of youth obtaining new tools to increase adaptive behaviour included:

  • Increased levels of activity engagement (dance, spoken word, art and meditation);
  • Improved self-efficacy for non-violent, healthy coping strategies (impulse control and anger management);
  • Increased moral reasoning and ability to talk about complex feelings and trauma; and
  • Reduction of maladaptive (problem) behaviours in the facility.

Evidence supporting the goal of increasing the quality of the custodial social environment included:

  • Improved perceptions of social support;
  • Increased social inclusion;
  • Increased community participation;
  • Improved social morale, cultural appreciation, and mutual respect; and
  • Improved quality of relationships between youth, as well as between staff and youth.

Cost Information

No information available.


Blueprint Pathways. (2016). Blueprint Evaluation Report. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

112 Coriolis Court
Stittsville, Ontario, K2S 0P3
Telephone: (613) 592-2220

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-20
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: