Changing Directions: Chronic Offender Management Program

Program snapshot

Age group: Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-64)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Adult offenders

Topic: Recidivism

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

Location: New Brunswick

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Changing Directions Chronic Offender Management program (Changing Directions) aims to reduce the volume/severity of offending, prolong crime-free periods, reduce negative police contacts, and thereby, improve public safety and minimize the burden of persistent offending on the criminal justice system. To reach these outcomes, Changing Directions offers intensive intervention with active monitoring at the community level through a client-centered multi-agency case management team approach that is based on Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) principles of offender rehabilitation. Changing Directions is a voluntary program, with most referrals coming from probation services. A Case Manager is assigned to each participant and after completing assessments, the client is presented to a Regional Guidance & Intake Team (RGIT). The RGIT assigns service providers, from their agencies or departments, to the client’s Case Management Team (CMT) based on the client’s risks/needs. The Case Manager, the client and the members of the CMT work collaboratively to create the client’s case plan.


The main goals of the Changing Directions program are to:

  • Prolong the duration of crime free periods for persistent offenders;
  • Reduce the volume/severity of criminal acts;
  • Improve public safety; and
  • Work collaboratively with other agencies/departments to ensure a client-centered approach of offender rehabilitation.


The appropriate clientele for the Changing Directions program is adults (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) who are in frequent contact with the criminal justice system. To be eligible for Changing Directions, candidates must meet the definition of persistent offending as established by the New Brunswick Roundtable on Crime Prevention and Public Safety:

  • A minimum of 6 court cases in the past 24 months for candidates under the age of 25; and
  • A minimum of 6 court cases in the past 24 months and 10 court cases in the past 10 years for clients over the age of 25.

The 6 court cases in the past 24 months demonstrates current criminal activity and the 10 court cases in the past 10 years demonstrates a persistent history of offending. It was decided that the 10 court cases in the past 10 years criteria would not be applied to clients under the age of 25, so as not to limit the number of referrals for this age group.

Core Components

The Changing Directions model is administered by the Department of Public Safety through the Community Services and Crime Prevention Branches. CD aligns with the 2018 Attorney General report and recommendations to improve health outcomes and contribute to safer communities by:

  • Ensuring a continuum of care and services for participants cycling in and out of provincial correctional institutions;
  • Improving the delivery of addiction and mental health services to provincial correctional inmates and probation clients; and
  • Introduction of evidence-based screening and assessment tools to gauge level of risk and potential mental health needs.

The Changing Directions Model also includes the following core components:

  • Program oversight – Hiring of a Program Manager and establishment of the Changing Directions Provincial Advisory Committee which is led by the Department of Public Safety and includes senior level representatives from Health, Social Development (SD), RCMP, the New Brunswick Association of Chiefs of Police, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour (PETL), John Howard Society (JHS) and Aboriginal Affairs Department (AAD);
  • Regional Guidance and Intake Team (RGIT) – charged with regional representation of the agencies/departments cited above;
  • Focus on evidence-based interventions of rehabilitation in addition to client engagement and accountability;
  • Changing Directions Evaluation Sub-Committee – charged with gathering qualitative and quantitative data for process and impact evaluation and includes representatives from Public Safety Canada (PSC), Université de Moncton (UdeM) and University of New Brunswick (UNB).
  • Changing Directions Indigenous Engagement Sub-committee – informs Changing Directions on service-delivery best-practices for Indigenous participants and includes representatives from the Department Public Safety (DPS), RCMP, Public Safety Canada (PSC), Aboriginal Affairs Department (AAD), John Howard Society (JHS), Elsipogtog Wellness to Healing Court and First Nations communities.

Implementation Information

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

  • Organizational requirements: Applicable policy and program documents; provincial program manager and oversight body (the Changing Directions Provincial Advisory Committee); regional oversight of client case management teams; case managers.
  • Partnerships: Department of Public Safety (Corrections & Community Services), Health, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick, Correctional Service Canada, Elsipogtog Health and Wellness, John Howard Society, Justice and Attorney General, New Brunswick Association of Chiefs of Police, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Public Safety Canada, Social Development, Université de Moncton, RCMP, Aboriginal Affairs and First Nations communities.
  • Training and technical assistance: Initial training is required on the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model/Goodlives Model and risk screening/assessment tools for Changing Directions Case Managers. Case Managers have received trainings on specific subjects to further develop their intervention skills, such as group facilitation, compassion fatigue, understanding complex trauma, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Cognitive Behavioural Intervention (CBI), Courage to Change Interactive Journals and systemic factors related to working with Aboriginal clients.
  • Risk assessment tools: Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT), The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS), The University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA), The Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) and DSM-5 Self-Rated Level 1 Cross-Cutting Symptom Measure—Adult (DSM-5CC).
  • Materials & resources: Screening and Assessment tools, Mental Health Screening tool and 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

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to the Department of Public Safety, Government of New Brunswick to implement the Changing Directions program from 2018-2022.

The following locations have been implementation sites:

  • Miramichi, NB
  • Moncton, NB
  • Saint John, NB

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation of Changing Directions (CD) was carried out between 2018 to 2022 by Dr. Mary Ann Campbell and Dr. Marie-Andrée Pelland. The evaluation methodology utilized a mixed methods design, using both quantitative (e.g., surveys) and qualitative (e.g., interviews) methods.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • 60 clients were admitted to CD, and 42 clients were matched as a control group.
  • Examining 13 clients (out of 60), drug use significantly decreased by the six month mark, but levels of usage were still hazardous.
  • By the six month mark, clients were significantly more likely to take personal responsibility for their criminal behaviour (n = 13 out of 60).
  • Overall, recidivism was significantly reduced from Year 1 to 4. Specifically, 81% (n = 34 out of 42) of control clients received another conviction post program admission, while only 21% (n = 9 out of 42) of CD clients received another conviction.

Cost Information

A cost analysis was conducted on CD. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The overall 5-year budget funding provided by Public Safety Canada was $2,756,080, of which CD expended $2,533,403.71.
  • It is estimated that the cost of CD was approximately $900.00 - $1,100.00 per client per year, depending on their unique service needs.
  • Additional costs came from staff training and salaries, administrative expenses and supplies, client transportation, translation/interpretation of materials, and the delivery of culturally appropriate programming.


Campbell, M., A. & Pelland, M-A. (2023). Changing Directions [Unpublished final evaluation report]. Submitted to Public Safety Canada.

For more information on this program, contact:

Kyra Richard, Project Manager

Department of Public Safety

145 Assomption Blvd,

Moncton, NB, E1C 0R2

Telephone: (506) 875-0202



Record Entry Date - 2020-11-24
Record Updated On - 2023-12-11
Date modified: