Soccer Moms are Part of the Solution "A Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Volunteer-Based Gang Prevention Initiative"

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Cat. No.: PS4-86/2010E
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Table of Contents

BearPaw Research logo

BearPaw Research
A Department of Native Counselling Services of Alberta

Authors:
Patti LaBoucane-Benson, PhD
Fiona Hossack
Karen Erickson, MEd
Matt Grunland

This report is made possible through Public Safety Canada, in cooperation with Native Counselling Services of Alberta

The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Safety Canada

APC 31 CA (2009)

Aboriginal Peoples Collection

Executive Summary

Gang crime prevention is a large, all encompassing descriptor that includes a variety of actions that are taken at the community, municipal, provincial and national levels. For government and policy makers, crime prevention is most often the creation of legislation, policy and funding for services (correctional, policing or justice) that focuses on the reduction and prevention of crime. At the community level, crime prevention can be purposeful, community-based mobilization of members to prevent crime in their communities or may be the result of community member actions that are not necessarily intended to prevent crimes, but nonetheless clearly result in crime.

The research presented here begins with a case study of community mobilization that took place in Edmonton, Alberta in 2008. Names and information pertaining to children and community members involved in this action have been changed to protect their privacy. The event itself is recounted using narrative methodology that relates the details of the events in a coherent, holistic story that is based upon interviews with key informants who were part of the narrative. In general, the narrative describes how two self-described "soccer moms" reached out to connect Aboriginal and refugee children to soccer, and how these actions not only had an impact on these children but also describes how these acts triggered a series of actions that lead to the development of summer recreational and cultural programming for 100 children a week for a six-week period. It is a story of how change is created in the community by individuals who set out to the open doors of opportunity to vulnerable children.

The second section of the paper conducts a cost benefit analysis of this narrative and relates the actions taken to research on risk factors associated with gang recruitment, particularly for vulnerable children within the Aboriginal and refugee communities. Using a cost-benefit analysis framework the paper provides a detailed account of the costs and benefits associated with the following two probable scenarios:

  1. Youth are involved with the community soccer program, which mitigates some of their risk factors and builds up protective factors. As a result, it is logical to assume a scenario whereby they will not be recruited into gangs and will not become involved in criminal and delinquent activities.
  2. Youth are not involved with the community soccer program, and as such their risk factors are not mitigated and protective factors are not built up, therefore they remain at risk. As a result, it is logical to assume a scenario whereby they will be recruited into gangs and will become involved in both minor (for example, property offences) and serious (for example, offences against the person) criminal and delinquent acts.

The third section of the paper highlights the key findings drawn from the narrative and cost-benefit analysis. The cost benefit analysis clearly shows the significant net benefit of scenario one in which all viewpoints (youth, family, community, government) considered come out with a positive net benefit (everyone wins) and the negative net benefit of alternative two in which all viewpoints come out with a negative net benefit (everyone loses). While the saving of public funds in an important benefit, the ways in which the youth described in the narrative also benefited in a number of significant ways are also important. While these benefits were not given a monetary value in the cost-benefit analysis, we know they have value. Playing soccer enabled them to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, improved their behaviour and increased their connection to the community. The research shows that these protective factors are important components of effective gang crime prevention strategies.

This section also highlights how the community-based actions of individuals and organizations have an amplified effect when they are combined in a meaningful way. In the first narrative, the actions of a foster mother who lobbied for support to enable her foster son to play soccer was further strengthened by a soccer coach who created a way for the boy to develop his skills and passion for soccer through involvement in a competitive soccer league and enrolment in a school with a specialized soccer program. In the second narrative, the actions of one soccer mom contributed to the idea of using soccer to integrate immigrant and refugee children into the community which in turn contributed to the development of a sport, recreation and culture program that reached 100 children a week for a six-week period. In both instances, everything that was needed for the intervention was embedded in the community; the individuals who were responsible for these actions were connected to each other through the Community Solution to Gang Violence - and the result of these connections was a more purposeful, integrated intervention for at-risk youth in Edmonton. This is the power of community-based solutions to gang crime prevention.

The paper concludes with three critical points. First, grass-roots actions by ordinary citizens and community-based organizations can be a powerful crime prevention and anti-gang recruitment mechanism for youth who are at-risk of being recruited into street gangs. Second, the cost of these community-based actions is far lower than that incurred by youth involvement in gang criminal activity and violence. In fact, the analysis demonstrates that 95 youth could play a season of outdoor soccer for the cost of one youth committing a serious crime as a member of a gang. Third, the actions of community animation and brokerage services such as the Community Solution to Gang Violence in Edmonton can transform individual action into larger services that are cost effective and specific to youth who are at risk of being recruited into gang activity. While the solutions are embedded in communities, it takes conscious and deliberate action to identify them, bring them forward and transform them into part of the 'community solution to gang violence'. To be effective and to have a lasting and impact on crime prevention, we must find a way to connect the efforts of individual citizens, community organizations and government into a cohesive whole. As a starting point, we will follow the lead of a few soccer moms.

Section One: Community Narrative

(How Soccer Moms Save the World)

Background

Edmonton, like many of Alberta's urban centres, is a city in flux. The Alberta boom is bringing newfound prosperity to established residents and making its major cities attractive destinations for newcomers. Aboriginal people have been moving from rural regions to the urban centres in increasing numbers in recent years. The high cost of living and discrimination against Aboriginal people can cause considerable stress for these adults, and often their children lack the encouragement, support and resources to pursue sports and other healthy activities in the community. Within this context, street gangs can be a major draw for vulnerable young people who are not engaged in rewarding activities and sports like soccer.

Other newcomers including refugees are arriving in Alberta's major centres from some of the world's most unsettled regions. There are constant challenges for new immigrants to Canadian cities. Due to language barriers which restrict access to information, a lack of attachment to the broader Canadian society and the shock of adjusting to a complex new world, they often lack the opportunities to engage in healthy activities that other Canadians take for granted. When it is accessible however, soccer, the 'world's game', has the ability to draw people together from very diverse backgrounds like very few other activities. It can be a particularly rewarding pastime for new refugee and immigrant children and their families who can gain confidence and form new connections in the established community.

This narrative tells the stories of three children in Edmonton who overcame negative influences, including possible associations with youth gangs, through the encouragement and practical assistance of soccer moms, soccer coaches and the soccer community.

This first narrative recounts the events and activities that surrounded Mark, an Aboriginal boy who, as a ward of Children's Services, lives with his foster mother, Carole. The narrative revolves around how Mark became involved in soccer with this support of his foster mother, his soccer coach Jill, and Pamela and Enid, two soccer moms who took a particular interest in Mark.

Mark's Story

It is a Saturday morning and Pamela, a soccer mom and an enthusiastic volunteer, is watching her son's team play in the community league. They are playing an exceptional game - two goals in the first half and none let through their own net. Pamela's son has told her about newcomer on the team - Mark, an Aboriginal boy who, though brand new to the league, was showing up everyone at practice.

Pamela spotted Mark and noted his quiet intensity and astonishingly quick moves. "Hey how're you doing Pamela? See that boy Mark? He just nailed one home," remarks Coach Jill. "Look at that ball control! See how he naturally floats to where the ball is going and doesn't crowd around it like the other kids? He's got something going on."

"Yes I see. I've heard about him and now I can finally see him play," Pamela replies. "I'd like to say hello to his parents. Where are they?" Pamela asks Jill.

"Oh they aren't here. He's a foster kid," says Jill. "See that big guy over there? He's the guy who drives Mark to the games. You'd better grab him quick 'cause he usually wanders off during the game."

Pamela introduced herself to the driver. The driver gave Pamela a few tidbits of information about the boy's background which intrigued her. At the same time, Pamela was saddened by the driver's lack of emotional connection to the boy. All the other kids had at least one parent watching their son from the sidelines. Pamela needed to know more. Why wasn't the foster mother here at the game?

Mark grew up amidst disturbing family violence, with a mother and father who frequently physically and verbally abused each other, Mark and his brothers. Drugs and alcohol were a constant presence in the household and Mark's mother was known to bring 'johns' home with her. So unstable was Mark's existence that police visits to his home were not uncommon and the boys would sometimes be forced to hide money and food.

Mark was six years old when he and his two brothers entered into Carole's foster care in Edmonton. Carole had a long history of volunteer work with children and experience as a foster mother. She first did volunteer work with homeless boys when she was 20 years old. After working with her partner in a First Nations Community for six years a teacher, she moved to Edmonton and became a foster mother. She was very quickly in high demand as she specialized in helping children from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds that are difficult to place. Finally, Mark and his two brothers were able to begin enjoying some of the stability they deserved.

But uncertainty would still remain a fixture in Mark's life. Carole had scarce time and resources for all three boys. Her health was poor and she had to stretch her limited finances amongst the boys. Mark and his brothers were forced to move and change schools when Carole took a six month break from foster parenting due to exhaustion. They were placed in a temporary living situation with their grandmother and after a difficult six months, were moved back to the care of Carole.

Carole was an experienced and dedicated foster mother. She knew how much her own children had benefited from playing soccer so she always encouraged the boys to kick the ball around in the backyard as much as they could. She knew Mark was sullen at school and not a high achiever, but she also noticed a spark of enthusiasm in the typically moody and subdued Mark whenever he was playing around with the ball. She could sense that soccer might help Mark come out of his shell.

Carole was aware that she could only enrol Mark in soccer if she could receive the necessary support to make it happen. Without support she would never have the time or the energy to keep up with the constant training and games. It would be a serious commitment for her. Carole lobbied for a youth worker to take Mark to and from games, but this was denied. She was finally able to register him when a social worker secured a driver who could take Mark to the games and trainings. Even with this support, the logistics involved in getting Mark to soccer were difficult and Carole was either too unwell or otherwise too busy to attend all the games herself. Even if Mark would not receive direct emotional support on game days, at least getting him out on the field was the first step. Mark was about to enter a whole new world of achievement.

Coach Jill became aware of Mark's talents almost immediately. He was very quiet and stand-offish, but his ball control was remarkable. Jill learned that Mark had played quite a bit of soccer at school but had never played in a league, so she made it a priority to contact Mark's foster mother. She learned about Carole's health issues and the difficulties in getting Mark to soccer each week. So Jill decided she must regularly keep in touch with Carole to keep her informed of Mark's progress.

By mid-season Jill noted that Mark's skills had improved and that he was gaining in confidence. She was now convinced that he should be playing beyond community soccer so she started to hatch a plan. Each season, the parents would chip in money to buy the coach a present. Jill decided that instead of buying a gift this season, they should pass the hat around to raise funds for Mark to attend a special end of season summer soccer camp run by the University of Alberta. Mark would have a week of intense training and go home with a new soccer ball. Anyone who had spent any time on the sidelines knew that Mark was destined for greater things so there was unbounded enthusiasm for the gift. It was agreed that Mark was a fantastic role model for the other boys on the team because he always demonstrated a quiet confidence and positive approach to team work. Thus he was a natural pick for the camp.

Coach Jill could see support building for Mark in the community. She wondered whether the camp could kick-start Mark's entry into competitive league soccer. Shortly after the decision was made to send Mark to camp, Jill asked Carole whether she'd be interested in Mark trying out for competitive league. Carole was intrigued, but was concerned with the expense of registering Mark. She had been paying for kids sports for many years and quite often had to use her own money that was not necessarily all refunded by the system.

This was also another period of uncertainly for Mark. Carole was again engaging in discussions with social workers about new placements for the boys because one of Mark's brothers was becoming an unstable influence at home, and Carole was increasingly having difficulty coping with all three boys. The social workers were aware that Mark was achieving great things in the soccer community but if his brothers left, Mark would have to go as well because of the policy to not split families up wherever possible. It was becoming increasingly probable that Mark would have to drop out of soccer entirely if the brothers left Carole's care. The social worker could not find a parent who was willing to commit to year-round club soccer. So certain was Carole that soccer was the best thing for Mark's future she told the social workers she was prepared to keep the disruptive older boys if it meant Mark could keep playing.

Equally undeterred, Coach Jill asked her friend Enid to come and check out Mark's playing at practice to gauge whether he had what it took to move on. Enid is a soccer mom who knew a lot about the competitive league because her son, who was the same age as Mark, had been playing in that league. Enid agreed to come to training one afternoon and after witnessing him run the length of the field and power one home she instantly gave Mark the green light!

This was the turning point. Carole was now able to convince the social workers that it was crucial to Mark's development that he continue with soccer, so it was decided to allow her to just keep Mark in her care. Mark was to stay with the foster mom who loved him. Enid was overjoyed when she found this out and she decided to voluntarily drive Mark to competitive league training sessions. She knew that there was no way Carole could keep up with the competitive league schedule. Mark was entering a whole new level of competition.

Towards the end of the season, Coach Jill wanted to make sure she was leaving Mark with as much support as possible. She found out about a local school with a special soccer program for gifted youth and suggested Carole might enrol Mark so that he could continue the momentum he was building. Coach Jill decided to write an evaluation as a community level soccer coach for the school application and Carole agreed to follow this up by making a case for Mark with his social worker. He was accepted and the social worker paid the tuition.

The academy has been a major adjustment for Mark and he now plays soccer three afternoons per week. Carole has already noticed that his school marks have improved and he is finally writing neatly. He doesn't need to be pushed or pulled anymore to do his schoolwork. Mark is slowly making new friends as well and has even started bringing a friend along to the tryouts for the competitive indoor team.

This second narrative recounts the events and activities that surrounded Josef and Samy, two boys who with their parents and five siblings fled their homeland in Sudan, Africa to Canada as refugees. The narrative revolves around how Josef and Samy became involved in community-based soccer with the support of Pamela, a soccer mom and concerned citizen, Frank, a community league volunteer, and their soccer coach Mitch.

Josef and Samy's Story

Its game two of the season and the Strikers are down 1-0 at half time.  It's two minutes into the second half and it suddenly hits Coach Mitch that his team's opponents are two players up on them. 'Where are the new guys?!' he exclaims before spying Josef and Samy crouched over in the car-park, petting a small dog. "Hey kids, that whistle means half-time is over. Get out there and show 'em what you can do!"

Coach Mitch guides the two small boys onto the field. The boys scurry into their positions and the parents on the sideline rise into cheer. Josef and Samy's slender frames stand in stark contrast to this team of larger lads. Mitch instructs one of the other players to keep on eye on his new starters. "Make sure they stay on side," he growls.

Samy is sprightlier in his step now. Mitch noticed during the first half that Samy had to keep holding his baggy pants up to stop them falling down. He had a spare pair of small boy's soccer shorts in his car so he gave them to Samy. "We'll have to see about getting those boys some cleats, hey Pamela? Those running shoes are no good. And they aren't wearing any shin protection!"

"Oh goodness, you're right Mitch. My boys have some old gear they can give them. I'm on it," replies Pamela.

Pamela volunteered to drive Josef and Samy to soccer today. She is an energetic Edmonton 'soccer mom' who has taken great interest in the two Sudanese boys and their family. She developed an affinity with the African people following five trips to various countries for nursing work in countries torn apart by war and natural disasters.

Josef and Samy are newcomers to Edmonton. Following intense internal unrest, Josef and Samy's family were forced to flee Sudan for Uganda, where they spent the following 14 years living in a state of uncertainty in refugee camps. Life in the refugee camps was crowded and at times dangerous. Rebels attacked Josef and Samy's camp, targeting the Sudanese refugees and killing five hundred people. Josef and Samy's family was forced to relocate camps years later, not long after their father Isak suffered the loss of his brother due to a violent attack. Isak desired a safe and prosperous future for Josef, Samy and his five other children, so he always dreamed of being allowed to relocate somewhere in the developed world. Following a lengthy application process, Isak and his family were finally granted entry to Canada.

However, Isak, with his limited English and familiarity with the contained economy of refugee camps, was suddenly thrust into making decisions for his family in a different world. In the camp he worked as group leader in charge of food distribution for United Nations supplies. In Edmonton, he now supports his very large family by working in a grocery store and spends much of his non-work time studying English in the evenings.

Even with their poor English language skills, Josef and Samy had no choice but to be thrust immediately into the public school in Edmonton, with no additional English language classes. It was up to them to sink or swim along with everyone else in their classes. Before arriving in Edmonton they had not attended school on a regular basis, and were not accustomed to sitting quietly in a classroom for six hours a day. On one occasion, Samy was punished by his teacher for wriggling around in his chair. Samy had little context for understanding the connection between his actions and the punishment.

Pamela the soccer mom grew up in South Africa and North America. She had thus become accustomed to dealing with the challenges associated with moving and had developed empathy for the dispossessed. Through her community connections Pamela was introduced to Josef and Samy's family - a definite 'red flag family' - because of their fresh arrival from a refugee camp and challenging settlement needs. To get to know the family better, Pamela arranged for them to join her family for Christmas dinner. Isak and his wife told Pamela all about the family's challenging background over dinner, and from that point Pamela decided that she would do all she could to help the family settle into their new community.

Two months after the Christmas dinner, Pamela enrolled her sons in community soccer and wondered whether Josef and Samy would be ready to embark on their own sporting adventure in Canada. She thought soccer could help the children make new friends in their strange new world, and develop much-needed confidence. Because Isak and his wife were totally consumed by their challenging new lives, Pamela knew that they would probably not even be aware that community soccer existed. So, with Isak and his wife's agreement, Pamela decided to enrol Josef and Samy in soccer.

Pamela began phoning city officials to find out how she could register the two boys on their parents' behalf, and she found nobody who could give her any straight answers. She was met with a barrage of rules. Yes they could play but only if they had birth certificates and money for registration, and if the parents signed up to run bingo. Even Pamela found the process time consuming and confusing. Isak and his wife would never be able to deal with the process on their own.

Pamela didn't let this stop her and she decided to approach community league volunteers to see if they would by-pass the cumbersome registration process and simply let the boys play. Pamela connected with Frank, who was in charge of registration. He listened intently to Pamela's story and decided he could help. Frank knew that the boys didn't have any birth certificates and had limited funds, so he made the decision to waive the fees entirely. He called Coach Mitch and asked if he would be able to provide the support to a couple of refugee kids with limited English to play with the Strikers team. Coach Mitch was only too glad to help.

This was finally the breakthrough Pamela needed, but she knew further challenges lay ahead. Transportation would be a major issue because the boys' parents did not have a vehicle. Pamela and her husband decided they would drive the kids to practice and games to ease the burden on Isak and his family. This would require a major time commitment from Pamela and her husband, who were already committed to getting their own children to soccer. Throughout the entire season they picked up the boys for one game and one practice each week.

Josef and Samy were greeted warmly by the boys on the Strikers team. They were much smaller than the other boys on the team and their English was very weak, so they were persistently quiet during training and games. Mitch knew the two Sudanese boys were joining a well established team so he took great care to introduce the boys and explain their background. The rest of the team were amazed that their new friends hadn't even worn shoes before they arrived in Canada, let alone soccer cleats!

It's mid-way through the community league season. The Strikers have had a ball this year. The victories aren't coming their way this year but they are having fun. Josef and Samy are still very quiet around the other boys but this doesn't stop them from partaking in the sprit of fun in their own way. The sidelines are filled with supporters. Isak has finally been able to come to a game by way of a day off from the grocery store. He is chatting to Coach Mitch and parents, who warmly converse with their new friend. They have all been eagerly following the on-field exploits of his two sons and have noted their growing confidence and English speaking skills.

Josef has just been called offside for the third time this game and after a brief pep talk from Coach Mitch, cheerfully resumes his left wing position. Even on the field Samy is never far from his brother, and Coach Mitch has given up trying to keep him back in defence. A lofty throw-in lands close to Samy's boot and is promptly tapped to his brother, standing alone in left field. Head down, face twisted in a determined grimace, Josef sprints down left field and lobs the ball straight into the net. His first goal! Josef sprints over to his dad on the sideline and jumps into his arms. He grabs Pamela by the hand and pleads to use her cell to brag to his mother at home. Fred, another soccer dad, bounds over and snaps some photos of the beaming child. He's been taking candid photos of all the boys on the team for a few weeks now and has decided to burn them all CDs to take home at the end of the season. Samy and Josef are indeed important members of the team.

The Community

Pamela reflected on the community outdoor season as it drew to a close. She realized that this it had been a very special season. Pamela and her husband supported the two boys all season. Although the boys didn't set the field afire, they had fun and inspired a devoted following in the parents and friends on the sidelines. Pamela wanted the public to discover this story so that others could realize for themselves how some basic actions could make such a difference to children like Josef and Samy.

Patricia contacted a newspaper and they agreed to do a brief article on the story. Pamela then contacted Community Solutions to Gang Violence (CSGV) and related the story to Karen, the organization's Project Manager. (CSGV is a collaborative initiative of private citizens, community organizations, police, schools and non-profit organizations working together on strategic, community-wide approaches to preventing youth involvement in gangs.) Pamela contacted CSGV because she had seen a notice that CSGV placed in a community league newsletter about how neighbours who supported children's involvement in recreation activities were "part of the solution to gang violence."

Karen immediately saw the benefits of this type of action and considered it to be a great example of how seemingly small but caring and compassionate acts by individuals can have a powerful and dramatic impact on the lives of young people. It is the view of Karen and members of CSGV that solutions to gang violence appear when individuals decide to reach out and use their influence, whatever that may be, to make a difference in the lives of youth and families. Furthermore, when linked with the actions of others, these individual actions amplify and add value to the actions of everyone involved.

CSGV arranged a meeting with Pamela and together they talked about how this story could be replicated or lead to systemic change in Edmonton so that more young people in similar situations could be connected with soccer. Karen, with her wide community reach, was aware that Big Brothers Big Sisters had developed a 'Hockey Heroes' program that held many similarities to the individual action that Patricia had taken. Furthermore she also knew that Big Brothers Big Sisters were in the process of developing an ethno-cultural mentoring program for immigrant and refugee children. While these two programs were not specific to soccer, the similarities pointed the way to the possibility of building on Pamela's story.

When Pamela met with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Liz, the Executive Director, immediately saw the connections. Same as with Karen, Pamela had demonstrated, from Liz's perspective, that the actions of one person could have wide-ranging effects and lead to a small community - in this case a soccer community - sharing the support role. This was very appealing as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, traditionally a one-to-one mentoring agency, was looking at how they could expand their role to allow for mentoring in groups. Liz was starting to envision how more healthy adults could play more roles in more ways so that more children in the community could be helped. To this end, Big Brothers Big Sisters was working with the Africa Centre to hire a Somali staff member to support mentoring programs at the Africa Centre.

So together Karen and Liz arranged a meeting whereby Pamela could explain her vision to representatives from various social service and government agencies, and instigate discussion on the possibilities for building on Patricia's actions to have a greater impact that would reach out to more youth and their families. It was decided at that meeting that it would be appropriate to approach the Africa Centre to see if they were interested in these ideas. (The Africa Centre is an organization that brings African communities together to help individuals, families and youth meet the challenges associated with moving to and integrating into Canadian life. In particular, they are concerned about the challenges facing youth as they strive to adjust to another culture, learn another language, interact in a new community and adjust to a whole new way of life.)

Karen from CSGV worked with Pamela to prepare a concept brief about how a soccer program could be used to help integrate and connect immigrant and refugee children to the community and the tasks necessary to help make this happen. This brief was presented to representatives of the Africa Centre to determine the benefits they saw in the idea and if they wanted to work with others to make things happen. From this point onward the Africa Centre worked with volunteers like Pamela, and organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, CSGV, the City of Edmonton, Fun Team Alberta, the Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton's Food Bank and the Butler Foundation to design and deliver a six-week Sport, Recreation and Cultural Program for African children and youth. The program provided a breakfast and lunch as well as such programming as soccer, basketball, arts and crafts, media literacy, African history, cultural activities and leadership training. A value-added component of the program was that African youth acted as paid and volunteer mentors and facilitators for the program. As such, the program not only benefited children directly but built the capacity of young people to be recognized as valuable resources and contributors to the community. Almost 100 children and youth attended the program every week for six weeks and with the generous support of the United Way each child participating in the program received a backpack and school supplies.

Because the vast majority of these services were contributed in-kind by participating organizations, the total cash required for the program was less than $10,000. The spirit and goodwill of one person had been replicated by the goodwill of many.

Section Two: Cost-Benefit Analysis

In this chapter, a cost-benefit analysis will be undertaken, using the information that was collected and presented in the community narrative described in Section 1. The model employed for this analysis is a common cost-benefit framework, which included the following actions:

Further, the cost-benefit process required first that the assumptions made at the onset of the cost-benefit process be justified. These assumptions are described in this section of the paper and provide the foundation for the subsequent definition of the two scenarios (alternatives) that will be considered for analysis. Both alternatives are thoroughly examined, with estimated and non-estimated costs described from the different viewpoints provided in the case study.

Assumptions Made For this Cost-Benefit Analysis

Assumption 1: These youth are at risk of being recruited into gangs.

Through extensive research on the formation and recruitment processes of Aboriginal gangs in western Canada, Grekul & LaBoucane-BensonFootnote 2 suggest that there are a number of risk and protective factors have been described that help discern whether a youth is at risk of being recruited into a gangFootnote 3. Risk factors are "conditions in the individual or environment that predicts an increased likelihood of... gang involvement," and protective factors are "conditions in the individual or environment that buffer or moderate the effects of risk factors."Footnote 4 Using these findings primarily, but also with the support of other research, this report will examine the case studies of Mark and Josef/Samy, as laid out in the narrative, to determine whether these youth were at risk of recruitment. In doing so, this report broadly divides risk and protective factors for gang recruitment into five spheres of influence for examination: family, peer, community, school and individual. It will conclude that these youth were at risk of being recruited into gangs.

Mark

Beginning with the familial domain, Mark was exposed to many of the risk conditions identified in the research: family dysfunction, low income, deviant family members and a prevalence of abuse, drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.Footnote 5 In Mark's case, these problems culminated in his placement into foster care, which is another risk factor.Footnote 6 In fact, research quotes ex-gang member saying, "Kids within the family services system were especially attractive" as new recruits for gangs.Footnote 7 Moreover, the instability of his family situation - the six-month break from his foster mother's care, the threat of having to be relocated because of his brother's behavioural problems - left Mark in even greater danger of becoming a target.Footnote 8 Finally, because his family was dysfunctional, Mark was also unable to receive the support, understanding, and positive role modeling from family members that serve as protective factors from gang involvement (although his foster mom no doubt supplied some of this in lieu).Footnote 9

In the peer domain, after being removed from his parents' care and being placed in the child welfare system, Mark's brother continued to experience behavioural problems, which left Mark constantly exposed to a deviant peer. Numerous studies have found that adolescents who are exposed to deviant peers increase their risk of gang membership.Footnote 10

At school, Mark was underachieving, antisocial, and had a history of behavioural problems - three more factors the report identifies as risks.Footnote 11 Furthermore, his lack of bonding and commitment to school life again makes it unlikely that he received any of the conventional support, role models, or healthy bonding opportunities that school usually offers youngsters, which are important protective factors for deterring youth involvement in gangs.Footnote 12 In addition, again there is an element of instability in his school situation (his having been forced to change schools when his foster mom needed a break), which contributed to the overall instability of his childhood and is another risk factor.Footnote 13

Mark was also largely unconnected to the wider community. His foster mother was often busy or unwell, and thereby often isolated from the community. As such, so was Mark. Cultural differences, differences in appearance, and lower socio-economic status no doubt compounded the isolation.Footnote 14 The results of this lack of bonding to the community are feelings of alienation/being an outsider, which is a risk factor, and, again, a lack of role models and a source of support/healthy bonding opportunities, which would have been protective factors against gang recruitment.Footnote 15

In the individual domain, Mark's overall lack of bonding to his family, school, and community leave him with a void that he may seek to fill through association with street gangs.Footnote 16 In addition, his lack of connectedness can lead to self-esteem problems, and a desire for "belonging, respect, love, and support" that gang membership has been reported to offer.Footnote 17 The narrative explicitly mentions that Mark exhibited antisocial - "sullen", "stand-offish" "moody" and "withdrawn"- behaviour, and a lack of self-esteem.Footnote 18

Finally, Mark had to contend with demographical disadvantages. At work, school, and in the general community, Aboriginal people in Canada are a marginalized group.Footnote 19 Aboriginal families have a higher probability of familial problems than other demographic groups, and have a far greater (more than two times) incidence of low income than the non-Aboriginal population in Canada (32.5 vs. 12.4 percent).Footnote 20 Income for people of Aboriginal descent is 75 percent of that for people of non-Aboriginal descent.Footnote 21 Moreover, Aboriginal people experience discrimination and labelling in many different settings and forms (at school, work, in the legal system), which contribute to their overall lack of connection to mainstream Canadian society, feelings of a lack of respect from others, alienation, and problems with self-esteem, again all of which contribute to the risk of recruitment into street gangs.Footnote 22 In addition, on-going and past systemic discrimination (the residential school system, for example) serve as further risk factors for participation in criminal activities.Footnote 23

The result of this disadvantage is an increased exposure to risk factors (low income, family problems, unemployment), which compound into further risk factors (deviant family members and peers, abuse, prevalence of drugs), and finally a disproportionate involvement with gangs and delinquency.Footnote 24 A report by Alberta's Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force asserts that "while all communities experience some level of crime, the experience in Aboriginal communities is severe in comparison. Alcohol abuse and drugs, family violence, sexual abuse, assaults, vandalism and gangs are taking a serious and devastating toll on individuals, families and communities."Footnote 25 This toll is reflected in gang membership and delinquency statistics: Aboriginal youth make up the second largest proportion of youth gang members in Canada (22%), and are four and a half times more likely to become young offenders than non-Aboriginal youth in Alberta.Footnote 26

In conclusion, Mark's life possesses many of the risk factors (and lacks many of the protective ones) that Grekul & LaBoucane Benson (2006) found were associated with a greater (or lesser) risk of recruitment into gangs. As a result, Mark was at serious and obvious risk of being recruited into gangs.

Josef and Samy

Josef and Samy's case presents a very different picture, but the overall impact of their situation is much the same - a lack of connectedness to mainstream Canadian society and considerable risk of being recruited into a gang.

In their case, family problems were externally imposed. Situations beyond their control, the volatility of life in the refugee camps, the family's escape to Uganda, and then their immigration to Canada, created a very unstable childhood for Josef and Samy, which is associated with the risk of being recruited into a gang.Footnote 27 Finally, because Josef and Samy's father, Isak, works long hours to support his family and often spends his free time off work studying English, he has limited opportunities to interact with his children. Unfortunately for Josef and Samy, this deprives them of his positive influence and increases their level of risk.Footnote 28

In addition, no appropriate support system to help Josef and Samy adapt and bond to their new environment existed at their school. Language barriers and the absence of a program to ease the boys' transition into school life in English are the most obvious example. However, the punishment of one of the boys who could not sit still for the duration of class because he had never previously sat through an entire school day also shows a lack of support, and highlights the cultural barriers that Josef and Samy faced in integrating at school. The result was a lack of connectedness to their school environment, which put them at a heightened risk of recruitment into street gang activities.Footnote 29

Refugees face other unique barriers as well, especially when considering bonding with the community. Ehntholt and Yule (2006) identify two main risk factors for the mental health of refugee families in their post-migration environment: low levels of social support and post-migration stresses, which include the process of asylum seeking itself, financial hardship, language problems, social isolation, new culture, and discrimination.Footnote 30 All of these factors appear in Josef and Samy's case. While many of these conditions are risk factors themselves, the mental health problems they can create are yet another risk factor.Footnote 31 Moreover, refugees in particular are left feeling like they are even more disconnected from their new communities because of their exposure to traumatic events, which can leave them feeling more alienated from a lack of shared experience.Footnote 32 Again, while a feeling of alienation is a risk factor in and of itself, Thornberry et al. found that experiencing 'negative life events' could triple the probability of joining a gang.Footnote 33 Finally, young refugees who have lost friends or family members to war or violence in their country of origin, in the same way Josef and Samy had lost their uncle, may be unwilling to commit to new relationships.Footnote 34 All of these factors contribute to problems of identity and a failure to bond to the community, which deprives Josef and Samy of role models and a source of support and healthy bonding opportunities and further contributes to their risk of gang recruitment.Footnote 35

Finally, Josef and Samy also had to contend with demographics. Refugee and immigrant populations in Canada are also severely marginalized groups. According to Statistics Canada, in 2000, both Black and immigrant populations showed a significantly higher incidence of low income (31.6 and 18.1 percent, respectively) compared to non-immigrant or minority populations (10.9 and 10.9 percent, respectively).Footnote 36 In fact, the Canadian Council of Social Development found that half of immigrants who arrived after 1991 live in poverty.Footnote 37 Unfortunately, the trend does not seem to be abating; a report on the economic experiences of refugees in Canada published by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) found that "lower average wage earnings are consigning ever-greater proportions of refugees to the poverty ranks of Canadian society."Footnote 38 Evidence from the 2006 Canadian Census supports this statement: while in 1980 immigrant men were earning 85 cents for every dollar earned by a Canadian man, by 2005, they were earning only 63 cents for every dollar.Footnote 39 Moreover, immigrants are also more likely to be unemployed, despite higher levels of education, and their employment levels are declining while the level of employment for Canadians overall is rising.Footnote 40 Both poverty and unemployment are risk factors for gang involvement.Footnote 41

Again, for those within this demographic, the result of this disadvantage is an increased exposure to risk factors (both unemployment and poverty are risk factors) that, in turn, lead to an increased and disproportionate involvement with delinquency and gangs.Footnote 42 As a result, just as with Aboriginal people, there are a disproportionate number of refugees and immigrants involved with gangs.Footnote 43 One illustration of this is that African/Black Canadians form a larger proportion of youth gang members than any other group in Canada at (25%).Footnote 44

In conclusion the narrative shows that Josef and Samy's were also exposed to many of the risk factors and were without many of the protective factors associated with gang recruitment, and, therefore, were also at serious and obvious risk of being recruited into gangs.

Assumption Two: Because these youth are involved in a community soccer program, the effects of the program mitigate their risk factors and are not recruited into a gang. Had they not joined a community soccer program, their risk factors would not have been mitigated and they would have been recruited. Gang membership is associated with a higher level of delinquency.

The next assumption is that, by involving themselves in community soccer, these youth are mitigating some of their risk factors while being exposed to a greater number of protective ones. Had they failed to do so, we assume that they would have been recruited into gangs, as per their heightened statistical probability, and, as such, would have committed either minor or more serious offences. The following will provide a review of the research that supports the assumptions that 1) recreational and community programs are capable of mitigating risk factors and introducing protective ones associated with gang recruitment, and 2) that gang membership is associated with higher levels of delinquency and crime.

Sub-Assumption A: Recreational and community programs keep kids out of gangs.

It is widely accepted that recreational and community programs are effective means of creating the conditions at-risk youth need to keep from joining gangs. These conditions include: a more connected community, an opportunity to engage with positive role models, and opportunities for positive development. Because these conditions are protective factors, they will mitigate the youth's risk factors and decrease their likelihood of being recruited into gangs.

To illustrate, the report by Grekul & LaBoucane-Benson (2006) notes that one key method for preventing gang recruitment is "developing initiatives that build and strengthen the community," and goes on to suggest recreational programs specifically as being "critical to gang prevention" in this sense.Footnote 45 A connected community is potentially a very significant protective factor for keeping kids out of gangs, and is one that a soccer program could offer.Footnote 46

In addition, much of the protective power that community and recreational programs offer to youth is a result of the opportunity they present for forming positive social connections, which has been previously demonstrated to be a significant protective factor for making youth more resistant to gang recruitment.Footnote 47 This is supported by a report on The Community Solution to Gang Violence initiative in Edmonton, Alberta that asserts, "Involvement in community activities will help children and young people develop positive relationships with adults and others that will help them avoid risky behaviour."Footnote 48

Moreover, the same report on finds that "there is considerable evidence that the most effective approach for preventing young people from becoming involved with gangs is to... promote positive, healthy, development."Footnote 49 According to the 40 Developmental Assets developed by the Search Institute, sport, recreational programs, and community involvement are all assets for positive development.Footnote 50 In addition, for refugee youth in particular, Ehntholt and Yule write that "extracurricular and social activities" are an important part of the reintegration process to society, which is an essential part of bonding to their new community.Footnote 51 A strong sense of connectedness to the community is also a strong protective factor for at-risk youth.Footnote 52

Finally, that a youth "does not participate in creative activities, sports, clubs or organizations in school, place of worship or community" is listed as a risk factor in and of itself in the Grekul & LaBoucane-Benson (2006) report.Footnote 53 Additionally, both this report and Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs list involvement in sports and recreation programs as protective assets against gang recruitment.Footnote 54

Finally, the results are beginning to appear statistically. A report by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family on the characteristics of youth offenders in Calgary, Alberta found that 0.0 percent of 'serious habitual offenders'Footnote 55 and only 9.8 percent of 'chronic offenders'Footnote 56 were involved in adult-coached sports.Footnote 57

In conclusion, this report is left with two probable conclusions. 1) By joining the community soccer league, Mark, Josef and Samy significantly reduced their risk of joining gangs. 2) If Mark, Josef and Samy were not involved in the community soccer program, and as such were not mitigating their risk factors or shielding themselves with protective factors, they would remain at serious risk of being recruited into gangs.

From here, in order to allow for a cost-benefit analysis to be conducted, this report makes two assumptions. 1) We will assume that these youth either join a soccer program, mitigate their risk factors (which is supported by the aforementioned probable conclusion) and decrease their likelihood of being recruited to avoid becoming gang members, OR 2) these youth do not join a soccer program, which leaves them at risk of recruitment (which is supported by the aforementioned probable conclusion), and their augmented statistical probability of being recruited leads the youth in question join gangs. If they become gang members, they are significantly more likely to become involved with juvenile crime and delinquency.

Sub-Assumption B: Gang membership leads to delinquency and criminal activity.

It is not difficult to find an association between gangs and crime, as it has been consistently established that youth involved with gangs are more prone to participation in criminal and delinquent acts. Thornberry et al. (2003) note that numerous studies, including their own, confirm "the observation that gang members, as compared with other youths, are more extensively involved in delinquency - especially serious and violent delinquency - is perhaps the most robust and consistent observation in criminological research," one that holds true "across time, geographical and national boundaries, and methods of data collection."Footnote 58 The Grekul & LaBoucane-Benson (2006) report similarly states that youth recruited into a gang lifestyle increase their risk of "victimization, criminal records and prison time, serious injury, and death."Footnote 59 Thornberry et al. (2003) add an increased probability of arrests, violence, and drug use and sales to this list.Footnote 60

Numerically, the differences in delinquency rates between gang members and non-gang members are staggering. Thornberry et al. (2003) found that for males, involvement in general delinquency jumps from 68.4 percent to 98.1 with gang involvement, and from 46.4 to 90.6 for violent delinquency. For drug use, the numbers go from 23.3 from non-members to 65.1 for gang members, and for drug sales from 9.5 to 39.5 with gang affiliation. Arrests increase from 31.0 to 54.6 for members. Their results for females are very similar.Footnote 61

In Canada, the results of a study of youth gang members in Toronto found a similar correlation between gangs and delinquency and crime. For example, 62.0 percent of youth who were currently criminal gang members said that they had committed an act of vandalism in the past year, whereas only 18.0 percent of youth interviewed who had never been in a gang said they had. In addition, while 67.6 percent of current criminal gang members said they had sold drugs in the past year, only 7.2 percent of the youth who had never been in gang said they had. Furthermore, 69.5 percent of current gang members had committed a minor theft (under $50), while only 17.8 percent of those who had never been involved in a gang had. Finally, 43.0 percent of current gang members had committed extortion or robbery in the last year, compared to only 5.6 percent of youth who had never been involved with a gang.Footnote 62

The disparity in the level of violent acts is equally alarming. 68.3 percent of current gang members said they carried a knife or gun, compared to only 11.2 percent of non-members. 79.6 percent of members reported that they had been in a gang (group) fight, compared to 12.7 percent of non-members, while 57.7 percent of members admitted to "attacking to seriously harm" someone, compared to 7.4 of non-members. 90.8 percent of members had been involved in a physical fight, compared to 26.5 percent of non-members, and 11.3 percent of members had sexually assaulted someone, compared to 0.3 percent of non-members.Footnote 63

Another sign that gang membership is strongly correlated to crime and delinquency is that the share of crime committed by gang members is disproportionate as well. For example, Fagan found that for high school students and dropouts in San Diego, Los Angeles and Chicago, while gang members were 23 percent of their sample, they committed 67 percent of the felony assaults, 65 percent of the minor assaults, 66 percent of the robberies, 72 percent of the felony thefts, and 56 percent of the minor thefts in those areas.Footnote 64 Another study, which was part of the Denver Youth Survey, found that gang members only accounted for 14 percent of their sample, but that this percentage had been responsible for 79 percent of the offences that involved serious violence, 71 percent of the serious property offences, and 89 percent of the drug sales.Footnote 65

In conclusion, the consensus of the research is that youth involved with gangs are significantly more likely to become engaged in all types of criminal and delinquent behaviour - from minor transgressions to serious and violent offences.

Summary of Assumption Two and Corresponding Probable Scenarios

In conclusion, this report is left with two probable scenarios to consider:

  1. Youth are involved with the community soccer program, which mitigates some of their risk factors and builds up protective factors. As a result, it is expected that they are not recruited into gangs and do not become involved in criminal and delinquent activities.
  2. Youth are not involved with the community soccer program, so they do not mitigate their risk factors or build up protective ones - they remain at-risk. As a result, it is expected that they are recruited into gangs and become involved in both minor (for example, property offences) and serious (such as offences against the person) criminal and delinquent acts.

Assumption Three: There is a probable pattern of delinquency and consequent involvement with the legal system that the youth involved with a gang will follow.

Using the research we have uncovered as well extensive interviews of both judicial and police personnel, this report identifies a probable pattern of delinquency and consequent involvement with the legal system that the youth recruited into a gang will follow. This is, of course, a purely hypothetical scenario, but it is supported by the research and the experience of the aforementioned officials.

The assumed scenario is as follows:

Because of the high correlation between gang involvement and property offences,Footnote 66 as well as the research and interviews we have conducted,Footnote 67 we assume that the youth's first act of delinquency is a property offence, resulting in referral by the police service to the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program. (This is the mostly likely outcome for a first and minor offence.)Footnote 68 This entails actions from:

Subsequently, after the youth has completed the consequences as negotiated with the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program's supervisors, we assume that the youth continues his/her gang affiliation and, as a result, commits a more serious offence. Because of the high correlation between gang membership and assaults,Footnote 73 as well as the research and interviews we have conducted,Footnote 74 we assume that this serious offence is an assault causing bodily harm, resulting in an arrest, appearances in provincial court and Court of Queen's Bench as detailed below, and, finally, a conviction carrying a two-year young offender prison sentence and a two-year probationary period.Footnote 75 This entails actions from:

Finally, we need to establish a timeline through which to calculate costs. Given the above scenario, a reasonable timeline for this report would include the estimated time that would elapse from when the youth commits the property offence to the end of their probationary period. Because here we propose that the time spent going through the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is three months, the trial process is ten months, incarceration is fourteen months, and probation is two years, the minimum length for the timeline is restricted to four years and three months. However, to allow time for the at-risk youth to be first recruited into a gang, and then to allow time between offences, we conclude that six years is a reasonable timeline.

As this report only considers young offenders (under 18 years of age, as per the Youth Criminal Justice Act), this timeline corresponds to the time between beginning of the youth's twelfth and eighteenth years of age. As such, the following is a summary of the timeline for youth's probable pattern of delinquency and consequent involvement with the legal system:

Assumption Four: There are costs and benefits associated with the two probable scenarios.

This report identifies two alternatives (generated from the two probable scenarios developed in the three previous assumptions), to which costs and benefits will be assessed:

In addition, there are four viewpoints from which costs and benefits are considered in the framework of this report:

The Cost-Benefit Process

The first step of a cost-benefit analysis is to define to which alternative scenarios costs and benefits will be assigned; Based upon the preceding assumptions, the two alternatives proposed are:

  1. A soccer program exists. The youth are involved in the program, and, as a result, will be at a much decreased risk of being recruited into a gang. They do not join gangs, and, therefore, do not commit any crimes.
  2. No soccer program exists. The youth are not involved in any program, and, as a result, remain at a much increased risk of being recruited into gangs. They are recruited, join, and commit both minor and serious offences as a result. We assume the minor offence is a property offence, resulting in referral by the police service to the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program, and the serious offence is an assault causing bodily harm, resulting in a conviction carrying a two-year prison sentence (served in a provincial facility as a Young Offender) and a two year probationary period.Footnote 83

The next step is to research and assign all possible costs and benefits of each alternative. In order to be comprehensive, this list must include the opportunity costs and benefits of each alternative, because if one alternative is chosen above another, the costs and benefits of the alternative that is not chosen become the opportunity costs of that decision. For example, if you choose Alternative 1 over Alternative 2, the costs of Alternative 2 then become part of the benefit to choosing Alternative 1 (you no longer have to pay for these costs), and the benefits of Alternative 2 become part of the cost to choosing Alternative 1 (you no longer receive these benefits). See below under "Explanations of Terms and Concepts" for a further explanation of opportunity cost.

Once all of the costs and benefits of each alternative have been established, the next step is to choose which costs and benefits will (or are able to) be estimated. In this report, there are both estimated and notestimated costs and benefits, which are summarized on the tables directly following this section, entitled "Summary of the Costs and Benefits (Estimated and Not Estimated) for Alternative 1 or 2". Many of the costs that are not estimated are, in fact, inestimable. For example, it is impossible to assign an appropriate dollar value to the emotional and psychological impact of the crime on a victim. Similarly it is impossible to assign an appropriate dollar value to the benefits of increase connectedness/friendships formed by youth engaged in a soccer program. Other costs are not estimated in this analysis due to the time limitations of our study, the availability of appropriate and applicable research, or the establishment of accepted measurement practices. (For example, the Treasury Board of Canada points out in its Benefit Cost Analysis Guide how difficult it is to measure the benefit of increased safety, and Brand and Price point out the difficulties in estimating the effect of crime on property values in their research study for the British Home Office, entitled The Economic and Social Costs of Crime.Footnote 84)

It is important to remember that the costs and benefits that are not estimated in this report are potentially very substantial. For example, Miller, Cohen and Rossman hypothesize that for the victim alone, the loss in quality of life (which we have not estimated) is approximately three quarters of the total cost of victimization.Footnote 85 Moreover, as a result of the significance of the costs and benefits that are not estimated, the numbers in this report will necessarily be biased by what we do and do not estimate.

The last step of the cost-benefit analysis process is to calculate values for the costs and benefits of each alternative that are to be estimated. The costs we have calculated are summarized in the tables directly following the tables of what is and is not estimated, entitled "Estimated Costs and Benefits for Alternative 1 or 2 (Per Youth)", and a thorough explanation of how each value was calculated follows the tables in the section "Explanation of Costs/Benefits and Calculations".

Finally, the following is a set of definitions and descriptions of concepts used in the following tables, calculations and analysis.

Explanations of Terms and Concepts

Sunk costs
The Treasury Board of Canada defines a sunk cost as one that has been "irretrievably made or committed."Footnote 86 For example, in this report, the maintenance of the city fields used to play soccer is considered a sunk cost, because we assume that the fields would be maintained regardless of the existence of a soccer program. Other sunk costs include capital costs (police, court, and prison buildings and their machines/equipment), capital maintenance and utilities, and the soccer coach and referees' time/training.
Opportunity Costs
The concept of opportunity cost is important to cost-benefit analysis because it provides the means to assign a value to costs or benefits that would be lost if one alternative is chosen over another. According to the Treasury Board of Canada, an opportunity cost is "the true value of any resource foregone."Footnote 87
Revealed Preference
Revealed preference is a technique that assigns quantitative value to less tangible benefits or costs by assigning value based on what people have paid for a good or service. For example, the benefit from playing soccer is measured by the fee paid to play - the league's registration fee.
Lost output
In this report, lost output refers to the amount of goods and services (in dollars) that could have been produced by an individual/group if they had been working regular hours at their regular place of employment rather than dealing with the aftermath of victimization, or serving as a juror, etc. This constitutes a opportunity cost.
2008 dollars (denoted: 2008 $)
You could buy a lot more with a dollar in 1950 than you can with a dollar today. This is because of inflation - over time, inflationary pressure drives the purchasing power (what you can buy) of the dollar down. As such, it is necessary to adjust all values we use in this report to 2008 $ from whatever year they were measured (for example, 1993 $) for past inflation in order to allow for a proper comparison.

Estimated Costs and Benefits for Alternative 1 (Per Youth)

Alternative 1: A soccer program exists. The youth are involved in the program, and, as a result, will be at a much decreased risk of being recruited into a gang. They do not join a gang, and, therefore, do not commit any crime.

*Note that in the opportunity costs table refers to the opportunity costs of choosing this alternative.

Alternative 1: soccer program, no crime

Youth

Costs

Estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Not estimated

Family

Costs

Estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Not estimated

Community

Costs

Estimated

Not estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Not estimated

Government

Benefits

Estimated

Not estimated


1 Decreased quality of life here excludes perceived value of time lost while incarcerated/remanded.
2 Loss of future life choices includes things such as decreased employment opportunities, not being allowed to hold a passport as a convicted felon, and probationary restrictions.
3 Lost output is a measurement of what society loses as a result of individuals not working because of the crimes. It is consistently underestimated in this report because, beyond the immediate loss to the community, lost output has a compounded effect by way of the spending and saving multipliers, which this report does not calculate. For example, if the victim loses $100 in income, he/she will purchase, for instance, $80 less in goods and services. This is the first multiplier effect to the community, which provides the goods and services. In addition, however, the proprietors of the business, for example, would receive $40 of this once they pay their employees and suppliers. As this money is lost too, it also fails to be spent on goods and services. Now the full loss is $100 + $80 + $40. This is an example of how the spending multiplier works: the initial loss is multiplied by a certain fraction, which is equal to the spending multiplier.
We have assumed that the victim would have spent $80 and saved $20. The saving multiplier would work on this figure much in the same fashion as the spending multiplier: the bank or investor that would have made money from these savings no longer does, the community loses next when the investor/bank owners do not spend or save the money they would have earned, etc.
Not all lost output as a result of the crime is estimated. Not estimated is the output lost by the victim of the minor crime and the victim of the serious crime. In addition, the loss to society could include time spent by the defendant on criminal activity.
4 Not all lost wages as a result of the crime are estimated. Not estimated are the wages lost by the victim of the minor crime and the victim of the serious crime, nor are the wages lost to the defendants and victim's families beyond those foregone to attend court dates.
5 Financial restitution/benefits may be provided to victims as per Alberta's Victims of Crime Act. See www.solgps.alberta.ca for more information.
6 According to Witte and Witt, there are four standard, possible benefits to society from incarcerating offenders: retribution benefits, rehabilitation benefits, deterrence benefits and incapacitation benefits. Ann Dryden Witte and Robert Witt. "What We Spend and What We Get: Public and Private Provision of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice" in The Economics of Public Spending. Ed. David Miles, Gareth Myles, and Ian Preston. (Oxford University Press: New York, 2003): 224. Benefits are assumed to be similar for offenders on probation.
7 Health care costs, aside from the in-hospital costs, that are not estimated include emergency response and all past, present, and ongoing out-of-hospital costs: consultations with doctors and specialists, etc. prescription medication costs are not estimated either, but would be borne by the victim's family and insurance companies, both of which would fall under the 'Community' viewpoint.
8 The loss from lost tax revenue can also be passed on to the community, in the form of a reduction of possible services or transfer payments. This should be measured at the marginal cost of public funds.

*Note that in the opportunity cost table refers to the opportunity costs of choosing this alternative.

Estimated Costs and Benefits for Alternative 1
Viewpoint Costs Benefits Net Benefit (2008 $)
Description Value (2008 $) Description Value (2008 $)
Youth Time for one practice and one game a week 201.60 Playing soccer 1,170.00  
  Opportunity cost: time associated with completing consequences as negotiated with Extrajudicial Sanctions Program 84.00
Opportunity: in-court and preparation for court appearances (time cost) 634.20
  1,686.60
Family Time for one practice and one game a week 273.25 Opportunity: lost wages to attend court dates 825.43  
  552.18
Community Registration fees 1,170.00 Opportunity: Extrajudicial Sanctions Program volunteers' time 228.26  
Community League membership fee 150.00 Opportunity: property damaged/stolen 811.74
Soccer equipment 188.87 Opportunity: lost wages for jurors and prospective jurors 11,174.95
Time for volunteer bingos/casinos 890.21 Opportunity: lost wages for civilian witnesses 684.78
Opportunity: hours of community service 42.00 Opportunity: lost wages for victim's family to attend court dates 1,654.89
  Opportunity: lost output for civilian witnesses 684.78
Opportunity: lost output for jurors and prospective jurors 14,174.95
Opportunity: lost output for victim's family to attend court dates 1,654.89
Lost output for youth's (defendant's) family to attend court dates 825.43
  29,453.57
Government   Opportunity: Extrajudicial Sanctions Program 221.70  
Opportunity: health care to treat victim (in-hospital treatment cost only) 9,400.00
Opportunity: police (1) 95.72
Opportunity: police (2) 1,640.11
Opportunity: court 26,451.87
Opportunity: remand & incarceration - 24 months 200,000
Opportunity: probation 4,169.61
241,979.01
  Total Cost: 2,915.94 Total Benefit: 276,587.31  
  Total Net Benefit: 273,671.38

Estimated Costs and Benefits for Alternative 2 (Per Youth)

Alternative 2: No soccer program exists. The youth are not involved in any program, and, as a result, remain at a much increased risk of being recruited into gangs. They are recruited, join, and commit both minor and serious crimes as a result.

*Note that in the opportunity cost table refers to the opportunity costs of choosing this alternative.

Alternative 2: no soccer program, both minor and serious crime

Youth

Costs

Estimated

Not estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Family

Costs

Estimated

Not estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Community

Costs

Estimated

Not estimated

Benefits

Estimated

Not estimated

Government

Costs

Estimated

Not estimated


1 Decreased quality of life here excludes perceived value of time lost while incarcerated/remanded.
2 Loss of future life choices includes things such as decreased employment opportunities, not being allowed to hold a passport as a convicted felon, and probationary restrictions.
3 Lost output is a measurement of what society loses as a result of individuals not working because of the crimes. It is consistently underestimated in this report because, beyond the immediate loss to the community, lost output has a compounded effect by way of the spending and saving multipliers, which this report does not calculate. For example, if the victim loses $100 in income, he/she will purchase, for instance, $80 less in goods and services. This is the first multiplier effect to the community, which provides the goods and services. In addition, however, the proprietors of the business, for example, would receive $40 of this once they pay their employees and suppliers. As this money is lost too, it also fails to be spent on goods and services. Now the full loss is $100 + $80 + $40. This is an example of how the spending multiplier works: the initial loss is multiplied by a certain fraction, which is equal to the spending multiplier.
We have assumed that the victim would have spent $80 and saved $20. The saving multiplier would work on this figure much in the same fashion as the spending multiplier: the bank or investor that would have made money from these savings no longer does, the community loses next when the investor/bank owners do not spend or save the money they would have earned, etc.
Not all lost output as a result of the crime is estimated. Not estimated is the output lost by the victim of the minor crime and the victim of the serious crime. In addition, the loss to society could include time spent by the defendant on criminal activity.
4 Not all lost wages as a result of the crime are estimated. Not estimated are the wages lost by the victim of the minor crime and the victim of the serious crime, nor are the wages lost to the defendants and victim's families beyond those foregone to attend court dates.
5 Financial restitution/benefits may be provided to victims as per Alberta's Victims of Crime Act. See www.solgps.alberta.ca for more information.
6 According to Witte and Witt, there are four standard, possible benefits to society from incarcerating offenders: retribution benefits, rehabilitation benefits, deterrence benefits and incapacitation benefits. Ann Dryden Witte and Robert Witt. "What We Spend and What We Get: Public and Private Provision of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice" in The Economics of Public Spending. Ed. David Miles, Gareth Myles, and Ian Preston. (Oxford University Press: New York, 2003): 224. Benefits are assumed to be similar for offenders on probation.
7 Health care costs, aside from the in-hospital costs, that are not estimated include emergency response and all past, present, and ongoing out-of-hospital costs: consultations with doctors and specialists, etc. prescription medication costs are not estimated either, but would be borne by the victim's family and insurance companies, both of which would fall under the 'Community' viewpoint.
8 The loss from lost tax revenue can also be passed on to the community, in the form of a reduction of possible services or transfer payments. This should be measured at the marginal cost of public funds.

*Note that in the table Opportunity costs refer to the opportunity costs of choosing this alternative.

Estimated Costs and Benefits for Alternative 2
Viewpoint Costs Benefits Net Benefit (2008 $)
Description Value (2008 $) Description Value (2008 $)
Youth In-court and preparation for court appearances (time cost) 634.20 Opportunity: time for one practice and one game a week 201.60  
Time associated with completing consequences as negotiated with Extrajudicial Sanctions Program 84.00  
Opportunity: playing soccer 1,170.00
  - 1,686.60
Family Lost wages to attend court dates 825.43 Opportunity: time for one practice and one game a week 273.25  
  - 552.18
Community Lost wages for jurors and prospective jurors 11,174.95 Hours of community service 42.00  
Opportunity: Extrajudicial Sanctions Program volunteers' time 228.26 Opportunity: registration fees 1,170.00
Opportunity: property damaged/stolen 811.74 Opportunity: Community League membership fee 150.00
Lost wages for civilian witnesses 684.78 Opportunity: soccer equipment 188.87
Lost wages for victim's family to attend court dates 1,654.89 Opportunity: time for volunteer bingos/casinos 890.21
Lost output for civilian witnesses 684.78  
Lost output for jurors and prospective jurors 14,174.95
Lost output for victim's family to attend court dates 1,654.89
Lost output for youth's (defendant's) family to attend court dates 825.43
  - 29,453.57
Government Extrajudicial Sanctions Program 221.70    
Police (1) 95.72
Health care to treat victim (in-hospital treatment cost only) 9,400.00
Police (2) 1,640.11
Court 26,451.87
Remand & Incarceration - 24 months 200,000.00
Probation 4,169.61
- 241,979.01
  Total Cost: 276,587.31 Total Benefit: 2,915.94  
  Total Net Benefit: - 273,671.38

Explanation of Costs/Benefits and Calculations

This section offers a detailed explanation of the costs assigned above for the cost-benefits analysis, grouped according to the viewpoints (Youth, Family, Community and Government). Four points should be noted for all viewpoints:

Youth

In-court and preparation for court appearances (time cost)

The total number of hours the youth as the defendant will attend court is 72.5.Footnote 89 In addition to this, he will spend a minimum of three hours in consultation with his lawyer.Footnote 90 The total man-hours associated with both preparation and in-court appearances (75.5) is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the youth's time, which is estimated by the minimum wage in Alberta ($8.40/hour, current for 2008).Footnote 91

75.5 × 8.40 = 634.20 (2008 $)

Playing soccer

According to Revealed Preference Theory, the benefit from playing soccer is equal to the cost of the registration fees paid to play.Footnote 92 Registration fees were $1170; see 'Registration fees' under the 'Community' viewpoint for details of this figure.

1,170.00 (2008 $)

Time associated with completing consequences as negotiated with Extrajudicial Sanctions ProgramFootnote 93

Time to complete consequences includes one hour with volunteers conducting a preliminary meeting and negotiation, typical no less than five hours of community serviceFootnote 94, two hours performing other duties as per negotiations (examples: writing an essay/letter of apology, creating a poster, or attending an AADAC meeting), one hour checking in with program volunteers throughout the three-month period, and one hour for a final meeting wherein the youth proves that the consequences have been completed and the case is closed.Footnote 95 This total of 10 hours is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the youth's time, which is estimated by the minimum wage in Alberta ($8.40/hour, current for 2008).Footnote 96

10 × 8.40 = 84.00 (2008 $)

Time for one practice and one game a week

Time is estimated at two hours each (one and a half hours play time and half an hour travel time) to make a total of four hours.Footnote 97 This time (four hours) is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the youth's time, which is estimated by the minimum wage in Alberta ($8.40/hour, current for 2008).Footnote 98 This number is multiplied by six years to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable.

4 × 8.40 = 33.60 (2008 $)
33.60 × 6 = 201.60 (2008 $)

Family

Lost wages to attend court dates

The total time spent in court by the youth's family is 72.5 hours per individual.Footnote 99 The opportunity cost of the family's time is estimated by the total man-hours multiplied by the average hourly wage for low-income Canadians adjusted for inflation.Footnote 100

72.5 × 11.39 = 825.43 (2008 $)

Time for one practice and one game a week

Estimated at two hours each (one and a half hours play time and half an hour travel time) to make a four hour total.Footnote 101 Time is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the family member's time, Footnote 102 which is estimated by the average hourly wage for low-income Canadians adjusted for inflation.Footnote 103 This number is multiplied by six years to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable.

4 × 11.38 = 45.54 (2008 $)
45.54 × 6 = 273.25 (2008 $)

Community

Community League membership fee

This is priced in accordance with the Bonnie Doon Community League family membership fee for 2008.Footnote 104 This number is multiplied by six years to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable.

25.00 × 6 = 150.00 (2008 $)

Extrajudicial Sanctions ProgramFootnote 105 Volunteers' Time

The volunteers' time on a typical case is spent as follows: three volunteers spend one hour with a youth in a preliminary meeting and negotiation (three man-hours), then one volunteer may supervise the youth performing acts of community service (five man-hours),Footnote 106 then one or more volunteers spend a total of an hour following-up with the youth throughout the three month period (one man-hour), and finally there is a last meeting at the end of the program where the youth proves that the consequences have been completed and the case is concluded (one man-hour).Footnote 107 The total of these ten man-hours is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the volunteers' time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation.Footnote 108

10 × 22.83 = 228.26 (2008 $)

Hours of community service

This is measured by taking the opportunity cost of the youth's time, which is measured by the minimum wage in Alberta ($8.40/hour, current for 2008), and multiplying it by the numbers of hours served as prescribed by the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program.Footnote 109 See the cost directly above for more information.

8.40 × 5 = 42.00 (2008 $)

Lost output for civilian witnesses

The opportunity cost to society of the civilian witnesses' lost output is equal to wages that they would have earned during their time attending court dates. See 'Lost wages for civilian witnesses' under this viewpoint for details of this figure.

684.78 (2008 $)

Lost output for jurors and prospective jurors

Thirty prospective jurors are summoned from the public at-large to sit for selection for a full day (7.5 hours), to make a total of 225 man-hours.Footnote 110 The opportunity cost of their time is estimated by the total man-hours multiplied by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.83).Footnote 111

After a jury is selected, 12 jurors sit for the duration of the trial, then deliberate, then are present for sentencing. In total, the man-hours involved in these parts of the trial are 396.Footnote 112 This total is multiplied by the opportunity cost of their time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.82).Footnote 113

Finally, these two costs are added together.

225 × 22.83 = 5,135.85 (2008 $)
(396 × 22.83) = 9,039.10 (2008 $)
5,135.85 + 9,039.10 = 14,174.95 (2008 $)

Lost output for victim's family

The opportunity cost to society of the family's lost output is equal to wages that the family would have earned during its time attending court dates. See 'Lost wages for victim's family to attend court dates' under this viewpoint for details of this figure.

1,654.89 (2008 $)

Lost output for youth's (defendant's) family to attend court dates

The opportunity cost to society of the family's lost output is equal to wages that the family would have earned during its time attending court dates. See 'Lost wages to attend court dates' under the 'Family' viewpoint for details of this figure.

825.43 (2008 $)

Lost wages for civilian witnesses

On average, two to four civilian witnesses are called in a trial such as the one in Alternative 2 and spend a day each (7.5 hours/day) waiting to and giving testimony at the trial and the preliminary hearing.Footnote 114 Here, we will use the minimum of two witnesses and multiply their total time commitment (30 man-hours) by the opportunity cost of their time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.83).Footnote 115

30 × 22.82 = 684.78 (2008 $)

Lost wages for jurors and prospective jurors

30 prospective jurors are summoned from the public at-large to sit for selection for a full day (7.5 hours), to make a total of 225 man-hours.Footnote 116 The opportunity cost of their time is estimated by the total man-hours multiplied by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.83).Footnote 117

After a jury is selected, 12 jurors sit for the duration of the trial, then deliberate, then are present for sentencing. In total, the man-hours involved in these parts of the trial are 396.Footnote 118 This total is multiplied by the opportunity cost of their time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.83) less jury compensation ($50 per trial day per juror as of May 2008 multiplied by the number of jurors and again by the number of trial days).Footnote 119

Finally, these two costs are added together.

225 × 22.83 = 5,135.85 (2008 $)
50 × 3 × 12 = 3,000.00 (2008 $)
(396 × 22.83) - 3000 = 6,039.10 (2008 $)
5,135.85 + 6,039.10 = 11,174.95 (2008 $)

Lost wages for victim's family to attend court dates

The total time spent in court by the victim's family is 72.5 hours per individual.Footnote 120 The opportunity cost of the family's time is estimated by the total man-hours multiplied by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation ($22.83).Footnote 121

72.5 × 22.83 = 1,654.89 (2008 $)

Property damaged/stolen

According to Juristat, the average cost of an incident of mischief was $638 (1996 $) in 1996.Footnote 122 This figure is simply adjusted for inflation.

638(112.6÷88.5) = 811.74 (2008 $)

Registration fees

This is priced for the Edmonton Southeast Soccer Association's 2008 outdoor season fees for the U14, U16, and U18 (under 14, 16, and 18 years of age, respectively) categories. There is a $110 fee for registration in U14, in addition to a $75 uniform deposit.Footnote 123 For U16, the registration fee increases to $120, and it increases again to $130 for U18, but for all categories the uniform deposit remains at $75. The registration fees plus the uniform deposit are multiplied by two years each to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable. These totals are then added.

(110 + 75) × 2 = 370.00 (2008 $)
(120 + 75) × 2 = 390.00 (2008 $)
(130 + 75) × 2 = 410.00 (2008 $)
370 + 390 +410 = 1,170.00 (2008 $)

Soccer equipment

Edmonton Minor Soccer Association regulations, which are followed for the Edmonton Southeast Soccer Association's U14, U16, and U18 programs, require players to have proper shin guards, stockings, shorts and shoes to participate.Footnote 124 After surveying three sports stores in Edmonton, the cheapest equipment was used for this analysis: $9.99 for shin guards, $9.99 for stockings, $19.99 for shorts, and $19.99 for shoes.Footnote 125 These items were totalled and then multiplied by the applicable tax rate for Edmonton (GST=5%; there is no PST in Alberta). All prices are current and in 2008 dollars. We assume that the youth will need new equipment every two years, so we multiply the previous amount by three to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable.

(9.99 + 9.99 + 19.99 + 19.99) × 1.05 = 62.96 (2008 $)
62.96 × 3 = 188.87 (2008 $)

Time for volunteer bingo/casino

The average shift length for a bingo (five hours) is added to the average shift length for a casino (eight hours) and this is divided by two to obtain the average shift length for a volunteer bingo or casino.Footnote 126 This time (6.5 hours) is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the volunteer's time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation.Footnote 127 This number is multiplied by six years to ensure the timelines between alternatives are comparable.

(5 + 8)÷2 = 6.5
6.5 × 22.83 = 148.37 (2008 $)
148.37 × 6 = 890.21 (2008 $)

Government

Court

In this report, the court process is split into nine steps, with a short description, the time involved and who is present at each step listed in detail below.Footnote 128

  1. First appearance in Provincial Court, at which an adjournment will be requested for the defendant to apply for Legal Aid and get a lawyer appointed. Time: full dayFootnote 129. Present: Crown Prosecutor, Judge, two Court Clerks, Duty Counsel, Victim Services Advocate, victim, victim's family, defendant, defendant's family.
  2. Second appearance in Provincial Court, at which another adjournment will be requested for the newly appointed lawyer to review the case. Time: full day. Present: same as (1), except there is no Duty Counsel present and there is defence counsel in attendance.
  3. Third appearance in Provincial Court, at which there will be a bail hearing and at which the defence will request to have the case elected to Court of Queen's BenchFootnote 130 and have the bail hearing. Bail is denied and the defendant remains in remand for the duration of the trial. Time: Full day. Present: same as (2).
  4. Preliminary hearing in Provincial Court, at which the Crown Prosecutor must prove that the Crown has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Time: full day. Present: same as (2), except add two of each civilian and police witnesses.
  5. Arraignment in Court of Queen's Bench, at which the trial date will be set. Time: two hours. Present: same as (2), except the Judge is a Justice of Court of Queen's Bench.
  6. Jury Selection in Court of Queen's Bench. Time: full day. Present: 30 prospective jurors (summoned civilians), Justice, Crown Prosecutor, Defence Counsel, two Court Clerks, Victim Services Advocate, victim, victim's family, defendant, defendant's family.
  7. Trial in Court of Queen's Bench. Time: three full days. Present: same as (5), except with the addition of 12 jurors, two civilian witnesses (each for a full day), and two police witnesses (each for a full day as well).
  8. Deliberation in Court of Queen's Bench. Time: full day. Present: 12 jurors, Justice, Crown Prosecutor, Defence Counsel, two Court Clerks, Victim Services Advocate, victim, victim's family, defendant, defendant's family.
  9. Sentencing in Court of Queen's Bench. Time: three hours. Present: same as (8).

The costs of the court process to all levels of government are split into the costs for the following people/groups:Footnote 131 (a) Crown Prosecutor, (b) Defence Counsel, (c) jurors, (d) Judge, (e) Court Clerks, (f) Duty Counsel, (g) Justice, (h) Victim Services Advocate. Each of their costs is detailed below.

  1. Crown Prosecutor. Court appearances (as detailed above) for the Crown Prosecutor add up to 72.5 hours. It is estimated that at least twice this amount of time is spent outside of court preparing and working on a case like this one.Footnote 132 This brings the total time commitment to 217.5 hours. This total is then multiplied by the hourly wage of a Crown Prosecutor in Alberta, current as of May 2008 ($36.71).Footnote 133

    217.5 × 36.71 = 7,985.43

  2. Defence Counsel. Costs for Defence Counsel on a case like this are estimated as follows: 1) interview and briefing: $420; 2) 3 adjournments, bail hearings in both Provincial Court and Court of Queen's Bench: $462, 3) Preliminary Hearing: $336; 4) Pre-trial conference: $168; and 5) Three trial days (preparation and court days), jury selection and sentencing: $2,014. These figures are summed; all figures quoted are current as of May 2008.Footnote 134

    420 + 462 + 336 + 168 + 2,014 = 3,400 (2008 $)

  3. JurorsFootnote 135. Once a jury is selected, 12 jurors sit for the full duration of the trial. Jury compensation is $50 per trial day per juror as of May 2008.Footnote 136 The number of jurors is multiplied by this daily compensation rate and again by the number of trial days (three).

    12 × 50 × 3 = 1,800 (2008 $)

  4. Judge. Court appearances (as detailed above) for the Judge add up to 30 hours. This total is then multiplied by the hourly wage of a Judge in Alberta, current as of 2008 ($114.65).Footnote 137

    30 × 114.65 = 3,439.65 (2008 $)

  5. Court Clerks. Court appearances (as detailed above) for the two Court Clerks add up to 145 man-hours. This total is then multiplied by the hourly wage of a Court Clerk in Alberta, current as of May 2008 ($18.09).Footnote 138

    145 × 18.09 = 2,623.42 (2008 $)

  6. Duty Counsel. Court appearances (as detailed above) for the Duty Counsel add up to 7.5 hours.Footnote 139 This total is then multiplied by the hourly wage of a Duty Counsel, which is $84, current as of May 2008.Footnote 140

    7.5 × 84 = 630 (2008 $)

  7. Justice. Court appearances (as detailed above) for the Justice add up to 42.5 hours. This total is then multiplied by the hourly wage of a Justice in Alberta, current as of 2008 ($114.65).Footnote 141

    42.5 × 114.65 = 4,872.84 (2008 $)

  8. Victim Services advocate. Court appearances for the Victim Services advocate add up to 72.5 hours. In addition to this time, advocates will spend additional time (estimated to be two hours) as needed with the victim preparing them for court, helping them to write a Victim Impact Statement, etc.Footnote 142 Victim Services advocates are volunteers, so the total of this time is then multiplied by the opportunity cost of the volunteer's time, which is estimated by the average hourly wage for Canadians adjusted for inflation.Footnote 143

    74.5 × 22.83 = 1,700.54 (2008 $)

    Finally, the costs for (a) through (h) are summed to find the total cost of the court process to all levels of government.

7,989.96 + 3,400 + 3,000 + 3,439.65 + 2,623.42 + 630 + 4,872.84 + 1,700.54 = 26,451.87 (2008 $)

Extrajudicial Sanctions ProgramFootnote 144

The total budget for this program in 2007 ($350,000) was taken and divided by the average number of youths served by the program per annum since 2001 (1600) to obtain the per-youth cost of the program.Footnote 145 This figure was then converted to 2008 dollars.

350,000÷1600 = 218.75 (2007 $)
218.75(112.6÷111.1) = 221.70 (2008 $)

Health care to treat victim

In Alternative 2, the hypothetical offence is assault causing bodily harm. The health care costs to treat this victim are estimated to be the same as that of the average cost for an injury resulting in a hospital stay.Footnote 146

9,400.00 (2008 $)

Incarceration -The estimated annual cost of housing a young offender in Alberta is $100,000.Footnote 147 This figure is adjusted to reflect 24 months of imprisonment (ten months' remand and a 14-month sentence, all spent at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre (see Assumption 3 for more details).

100,000 × 2 = 200,000 (2008 $)

Police (1)

The time for the police service to respond to the scene, handle the youth perpetrator (take them home, talk to parents etc.), and perform an investigation is estimated to be a minimum of three hours. This is added to the one hour it takes an officer to write a report and refer the youth to the Extrajudicial Sanctions ProgramFootnote 148, which brings the total time for the officer involved to a minimum of four hours.Footnote 149 This time is then multiplied by the hourly wage for a first-year constable of the Edmonton Police Service, current as of May 2008 ($23.93).Footnote 150

4 × 23.93 = 95.72 (2008 $)

Police (2)

The time for police officers to respond to the scene, perform an investigation and complete paperwork is estimated to be five hours. The court time that would directly involve police officers is estimated as a minimum of two officers (often as many as four for a serious trial like the one described in Alternative 2) appearing as witnesses for a full day for both the trail and preliminary hearing.Footnote 151 This time (a total of 35 man-hours) is multiplied by the hourly wage for a first-year constable of the Edmonton Police Service, current as of May 2008 ($23.93).Footnote 152 To this total, an hour of the supervisor's time spent being briefed and giving direction at his/her hourly wage ($38.22) is added.Footnote 153

In addition, if the offence is connected to the activities of a criminal gang, the police service will then attempt to identify patterns to prevent further gang related crimes. This involves a team of three analysts examining patterns of criminal activity in relation to the most recent offence for approximately 6 hours at a minimum, for a total of 18 man-hours.Footnote 154 Total man-hours are then multiplied by the hourly wage for a first-year constable of the Edmonton Police Service, current as of May 2008 ($23.93).Footnote 155

After this analysis is completed, a two hour long meeting will be held with six members of the service in attendance, including a Staff Sergeant. Most likely there will be at least one more senior member in attendance, but here we will underestimate our figures by assuming that all five officers present aside from the Staff Sergeant are first-year constables. The total man-hours for the first-year constables (ten) is multiplied by their hourly wage ($23.93) and added to the total man-hours for the Staff Sergeant (two) multiplied by his/her hourly wage($47.15).Footnote 156 All wages are current as of May 2008.

Finally, all of these figures were summed to find the total cost to the police service of investigating a more serious, gang related offence (in this case, an assault causing bodily harm).

35 × 23.93 = 837.55 (2008 $)
1 × 38.22 = 38.22 (2008 $)
18 × 23.93 = 430.74 (2008 $)
10 × 23.93 = 239.30 (2008 $)
2 × 47.15 = 94.30 (2008 $)
837.55 + 38.22 + 430.74 + 239.30 + 94.30 = 1640.11 (2008 $)

Probation

The estimated time spent by a probation officer on a case such as the one laid out in Alternative 2 is five to ten hours a month. This time is spent first in two monthly meetings with the probationer (about half an hour each time), but also on follow-up phone calls and meetings with counsellors and employers, and writing reports/keeping the file updated. Footnote 157

An average of the time spent (7.5 hours) is taken and multiplied by the minimum hourly wage of a probation officer in Alberta as of May, 2008 ($23.16), which is then multiplied by 24 to find the cost of continuing probation for the full two-year period.Footnote 158 The rate of inflation is assumed to equal the rate of discount for this calculation (i.e. present figures are not discounted into future values because it is assumed that salaries would be adjusted for inflation at the same rate as the rate of discount, even without job promotion).

7.5 × 23.16 = 173.73 (2008 $)
173.73 × 24 = 4,169.61 (2008 $)

Other Possible Costs and Benefits

As a Youth

While the following costs and benefits are difficult to include in an analysis such as this, they merit discussion, and illustrate the value-added benefits of Alternative 1.

As an Adult (with continued gang affiliation)

As this report only considers the costs and benefits to a youth between 12 and 18 years of age, it actually disregards a very substantial amount of probable costs to the youth, his/her family, the community, and the government that would be incurred after the youth turns 18. The following is a list, with some cost estimates, to illustrate just how extensive these costs might be.

Research limitations

Section Three: Discussion

Monetary and Social Values

The significant positive net benefit of Alternative 1 (soccer program and no street gang/criminal activity) and the considerable negative net benefit for Alternative 2 (no soccer program and gang recruitment/criminal activity) are compelling results. Indeed, in Alternative 1, everyone wins (i.e. each viewpoint comes out with a positive net benefit) and in Alternative 2, everyone loses (all viewpoints have a negative net benefit), with very few extenuating circumstances that could negate these findings. (See research limitations section for an overview of these circumstances.) From this analysis it is clear that investment in community-based programs that enable Aboriginal and refugee children to participate in community based sport and recreation programs is indeed cost effective. Fewer public resources and money are required to prevent gang crime than are necessary to deal with its aftermath. Conventional consideration of these findings would direct policymakers and funders to ensure programs and services that support Aboriginal and refugee children are available in communities and that community-based organizations are assisted in creating inclusion-focussed programs for youth. Small emerging organizations that are lead by members of the refugee and Aboriginal communities have the understanding and connections to respond to the unique needs but need policy and funding support from government and funding bodies to expand the impact of change described in this narrative.

While the savings of public funds are important considerations, it is also important to consider the social value of the actions described in the narrative description of the events that occurred in the lives of three boys. The actions taken by the individuals and organizations to show these children that they mattered and the efforts to create opportunities for them to experience positive interactions with adults and peers cannot be discounted. The research is clear that such actions are important protective factors that help prevent youth involvement in crime and gang involvement. The importance of positive relationships and positive role models, improved confidence and self-esteem, improved behaviour and increased connectedness to the community were not given a monetary value in this analysis. Yet we know that they do have value. Monetary saving is only one measure to be considered in determining the worth of crime preventions strategies. The cost benefit analysis shows the important monetary value of prevention but it is also critical that we consider the social value of crime prevention efforts. The social value of the actions that lead to the development of healthy children and families need to be given equal weight in making policy and funding decisions to direct effective crime prevention strategies.

Gang Crime Prevention and the Community

Gang crime prevention is a large, all encompassing descriptor that includes a variety of actions that are taken at the community, municipal, provincial and national levels. The type of actions taken and how these actions are taken are shaped by the context from which these actions occur. The narrative described in this paper is rooted in the community where personal interactions, connections and relationships were the primary drivers of change.

In the narrative, Mark and his foster mother and Josef and Samy and their parents developed positive relationship with 'soccer moms' who acted as champions to bring the issues and circumstances of these boys to the attention of others. The community league volunteers and coaches found a way to remove the financial barriers so the boys could play soccer. The coaches not only helped them develop soccer skills but ensured that they were welcomed and included by the team. The parents provided financial support by contributing money and equipment to enable the boys to play. The players on the team offered friendship and encouragement to the boys and made them a real part of the team. In turn each of the individuals involved took personal responsibility to connect these children to make playing on a soccer team a reality and to open doors of opportunity for them. They weren't preventing gang crime. They were simply supporting boys to play soccer. Yet the cost-benefit analysis shows that the outcomes of these actions do have an impact on crime prevention.

Linking Individual Action to Gang Crime Prevention

The individual actions in the narrative description made a significant difference to the lives of these three boys that is extremely important. In some ways, making a difference does take place one child at a time. However, for Pamela this was not enough. She knew that there were other children in similar circumstances who could benefit from the same type of action. She wanted to reach more children and create a level of change that was beyond her individual sphere of influence, an impetus that lead her to contact CSGV and to see if it was possible to create change on a larger scale.

As the narrative description highlights, Pamela contacted CSGV to share her story because she thought such action might be 'part of the solution' to gang violence. After discovering that Pamela wanted to link her actions to others to have a bigger impact, the Project Manager made an effort to support her efforts and help her make linkages to others in the community who held similar interests. CSGV was able to respond to Pamela's request because it has positioned itself in to act as convener or broker that consciously works to link people to each other and actions to each other to create change. As the narrative highlights, Big Brothers Big Sisters added their support and established a further connection to the Africa Centre. The Africa Centre took on the work of bringing more people and organizations together and the result was the design and delivery of a six-week sport, recreation and culture program.

A host of organizations such as the Africa Centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Fun Team Alberta, the Edmonton Public Library and Edmonton Food Bank and the City of Edmonton provided the services and support to operate the program. The Africa Centre provided the venue, directed and coordinated the program. Big Brothers and Big Sisters trained mentors and provided staff for the program. The Edmonton Public Library provided staff and program support. Fun Team Alberta provided recreational equipment and covered the costs for insurance. The Edmonton Food Bank supported the breakfast and lunch program. Finally, the City of Edmonton provided financial support through their Emerging Immigrant and Refugee Grant Program. This program provides streamlined financial support to strengthen and support immigrant and refugee communities to provide services to their own members. It is particularly adapted to new emerging groups who do not benefit from the social infrastructure support of established organizations. Additional goods and financial support were provided by the Butler Foundation and the United Way.

The organizations that contributed to the delivery of the services and the spirit of collaboration to work with others did not have to be created to make this program a reality. They already existed. What was different was how the program was created. It was not conceived, designed and delivered by one individual or organization but grew piece by piece as people came together united by their desire to make a difference in the lives of children and their families. In the first narrative, the actions of a foster mother who lobbied for support to enable her foster son to play soccer was further strengthened by a soccer coach who created a way for the boy to develop his skills and passion for soccer through involvement in a competitive soccer league and by enrolling in a school that had a specialized soccer program. In the second narrative, the actions of one soccer mom contributed to the idea of using soccer to integrate immigrant and refugee children into the community which in turn contributed to the development of the Sport, Recreation and Culture Program. In both instances, everything that was needed for the program was embedded in the community, all that was needed was to weave these elements together and create 'joined up solutions'.

CSGV's primary contribution to this program was that of an animator and weaver. CSGV responded to the individual actions of Pamela by acknowledging the value of her individual efforts to connect children to soccer and helping her make the connections to the larger community to 'make these actions bigger'. By consciously looking for ways to unite common interests and build on individual strengths and good will CSGV helped transform individual efforts into collaborative action that was able to develop services designed for a specific group with unique needs.

As the narrative reveals, it is individuals in the community, whether they are acting as 'soccer moms', soccer coaches, library program staff, or executive directors of non-profit organizations, that hold the knowledge, skills and know-how to create change in the community - and ultimately to prevent crime and make our communities safer and healthier for everyone. As this narrative also reveals, the power and effectiveness to create change is amplified when individuals are connected to each other around common interests and goals. CSGV helped weave the unique and separate strands of community knowledge into a tapestry that created something new out of what already existed. In addition, it was through the CSGV that this research project was first conceived and eventually completed by Native Counselling Services of Alberta. CSGV knew that this was a story that needed to be told.

Section Four: Conclusions

The community narrative describes the efforts of individuals in the community who took action to respond to needs of youth with unique needs and the corresponding cost-benefit analysis shows the net benefit of these actions for gang crime prevention. Together they demonstrate three critical points that must be considered by policy makers, government funding agencies and community service agencies in the work to prevent gang crime. First, the grassroots actions of ordinary citizens and community-based organizations can be a powerful crime prevention and anti-gang recruitment mechanism for youth who are at risk of being recruited into street gangs. They are closer to the individuals at-risk for being drawn into gangs and they hold the knowledge, skills and know-how to respond to these individuals to create opportunities and services that can prevent involvement in gangs and gang crime. Second, that the cost of these community-based actions are far less than the costs of the alternative where youth are engaged in gang criminal activity and violence In fact, the analysis demonstrates that 95 youth could play a season of outdoor soccer for the cost of one youth committing a serious crime as a member of a gang.Footnote 160 This is corroborated by Cohen, who estimated 'the monetary value of saving an at-risk youth' as being between 1.7 and 2.3 million dollars in 1997 dollars, which would be between 2.1 and 2.9 million dollars in 2008 dollars.Footnote 161 Third, the actions of community animation and brokerage services, such as the Community Solution to Gang Violence in Edmonton, can transform individual action into services that are cost effective, and specific to youth who are at risk of being recruited into gang activity. The solutions are embedded within the community but it takes conscious and deliberate action to identify them, bring them forward and transform them into part of the 'community solution to gang violence'.

For community organizations, these points underscore the need to find new ways to work in collaboration with others that draws on individual organizational strengths to build programs and services that are integrated and connected. Community organizations need to push their individual mandates to break out of their silos and create 'joined up solutions for joined up problems'. For policy makers, these points underscore the need to develop policy that acknowledges and builds upon the community's capacity to respond to the needs and issues facing children, youth and families. For government funding agencies, these points underscore the importance of directing funds towards community based efforts and services that create opportunities for children and youth that prevent gang involvement. Without clear and strong linkages between community-based action, policy and funding allocations, crime prevention efforts will be limited by fragmented responses and fragmented solutions. To be effective and to have a lasting impact on crime prevention, we must find a way to connect the efforts of individual citizens, community organizations and government into a cohesive whole. As a starting point, perhaps we could follow the lead of a few soccer moms.

References

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Footnotes

  1. 1

    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. (1998) Benefit Cost Analysis Guide. Ottawa: Government of Canada, July 1998, p. 8.

  2. 2

    Grekul, J., & LaBoucane-Benson, P. (2006). An investigation into the formation and recruitment processes of aboriginal gangs in western Canada. Ottawa: Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit: Public Safety Canada.

  3. 3

    Although this report focuses on Aboriginal gangs in western Canada, with further research this report finds that it is safe to extend its conclusions to gangs in general, as the risk and protective factors appear to be standard for gangs in general Canada and the United States. See: National Crime Prevention Centre. Policy Framework for Addressing Crime Prevention and Youth Ages 12 to 18. NCPC: Ottawa, 2000. Available online: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/crm-prvntn/index-eng.aspx. Michael C. Chettleburgh, Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs (Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., 2007); Terence Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and Scot Wortley and Julian Tanner, Criminal Organizations or Social Groups? An Exploration of the Myths and Realities of Youth Gangs in Toronto. First Draft. (University of Toronto, 2007).

  4. 4

    Grekul, J., & LaBoucane-Benson, P. (2006). An investigation into the formation and recruitment processes of aboriginal gangs in western Canada. Ottawa: Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit: Public Safety Canada. Page 51-2. Available online: www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

  5. 5

    Ibid, 2, 20-21, 28, 35, 39, 73-74; and Chettleburgh, Young Thugs,202.

  6. 6

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 32.

  7. 7

    Ibid.

  8. 8

    Ibid, 32, 35.

  9. 9

    Ibid, 39, 73-75.

  10. 10

    Ibid, 35, 73; and Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency, 59, 64, 66-67.

  11. 11

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 39, 76.

  12. 12

    Ibid, 33, 73, 76.

  13. 13

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 32.

  14. 14

    Ibid, 40, 73.

  15. 15

    Ibid, 29-30, 32, 40-42, 73, 75.

  16. 16

    Ibid, 39.

  17. 17

    Ibid.

  18. 18

    See the narrative, this report, 3-4.

  19. 19

    Ibid, 2, 31, 33-34, 40-41; and Robyn Eversole, John-Andrew McNeish and Alberto D. Cimadamore, ed., Indigenous Peoples and Poverty: An International Perspective. CROP: International Studies in Poverty Research (London: Zed Books, 2005): 34.

  20. 20

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 31; and Statistics Canada, "Income Status (4A) and Selected Geographic, Income, Family, Demographic, Educational, Cultural, Language and Labour Force Characteristics of Economic Families (244) for Economic Families and Persons in Economic Families in Private Households, for Canada and Provinces, 1995 and 2000 - 20% Sample Data," 2001 Census. Table 97F0020XCB2001075. Online: www.statcan.ca.

  21. 21

    Chettleburgh, Young Thugs,38.

  22. 22

    Eversole, McNeish and Cimadamore, ed., Indigenous Peoples and Poverty, 34; Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 31-42; and Wortley and Tanner, Criminal Organizations or Social Groups? No page numbers, under heading "Canadian Gang Research."

  23. 23

    Alberta, Keeping Communities Safe: Report and Recommendations (Alberta: Alberta's Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007): 32.

  24. 24

    Chettleburgh, Young Thugs, 39, 202; and Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 20-21, 33, 73-74.

  25. 25

    Alberta, Keeping Communities Safe,67.

  26. 26

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 11.

  27. 27

    Ibid, 32.

  28. 28

    Ibid, 39, 74.

  29. 29

    Ibid, 39, 76.

  30. 30

    Kimberly A. Ehntholt and William Yule, "Practitioner Review: Assessment and treatment of refugee children and adolescents who have experienced war-related trauma," Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 47 no. 12 (Dec. 2006): 1201.

  31. 31

    Chettleburg, Young Thugs, 202; Wortley and Tanner, Criminal Organizations or Social Groups? no page numbers, under heading "Canadian Gang Research"; and Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 20-21, 32-33, 40.

  32. 32

    Ibid; and Rowena Fong, "Immigrantand Refugee Youth: Migration Journeys and Cultural Values," Prevention Researcher 14 no. 4 (Nov. 2007): 5.

  33. 33

    Terence Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency,59, 64, 66-67.

  34. 34

    Lynne Lamberg, "Mental Health Experts Work to Help Youth Recover From War's Psychic Toll," Journal of the American Medical Association 298 no. 5 (2007): 501-503.

  35. 35

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 28-30, 32-33, 39, 73, 75.

  36. 36

    Statistics Canada, "Income Status (4A)...".

  37. 37

    Chettleburgh, Young Thugs, 33.

  38. 38

    Don Devortez, Sergiy Pivnenko, and Morton Beiser, The Economic Experience of Refugees in Canada (Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor, 2004): 30.

  39. 39

    Statistics Canada, "2006 Census: Earnings, income and shelter costs." The Daily. May 1, 2008. www.statcan.ca (accessed May 15, 2008).

  40. 40

    Chettleburgh, Young Thugs, 32-3, 36.

  41. 41

    Chettleburgh, Young Thugs, 202; and Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 20-21, 33.

  42. 42

    Ibid.

  43. 43

    Ibid.

  44. 44

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 11.

  45. 45

    Jana Grekul and Patti LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation and Recruitment Processes of Aboriginal Gangs in Western Canada," part of the Aboriginal Peoples Collection. (Ottawa: Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit/Public Safety Canada and Native Counselling Services of Alberta, 2006): 45. Available online: www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

  46. 46

    Ibid, 75; and Michael C. Chettleburgh, Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs (Toronto: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., 2007), 202.

  47. 47

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 39, 73, 75; and Chettleburg, Young Thugs, 202.

  48. 48

    Karen Erickson, Patti LaBoucane-Benson, and Jana Grekul, "The Community Solution to Gang Violence: A Collaborative Community Process and Evaluation Framework," part of the Aboriginal Peoples Collection. (Ottawa: Aboriginal Corrections Policy Unit/Public Safety Canada and Native Counselling Services of Alberta, 2006): 29. Available online: www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

  49. 49

    Ibid, 51.

  50. 50

    Search Institute, "What are Developmental Assets?" Developmental Assets, 2007. http://www.search-institute.org/assets/ (accessed June 5, 2008).

  51. 51

    Kimberly A. Ehntholt and William Yule, "Practitioner Review: Assessment and treatment of refugee children and adolescents who have experienced war-related trauma," Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 47 no. 12 (Dec. 2006): 1203.

  52. 52

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 29-30, 75; and Chettleburg, Young Thugs, 202.

  53. 53

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 73.

  54. 54

    Ibid, 73; and Chettleburg, Young Thugs, 202.

  55. 55

    Serious Habitual Offender is a designation by the Alberta Solicitor General by recommendation of the Calgary Police Service and the Multi-Disciplinary Resource Team.

  56. 56

    Chronic Offenders were youths with five or more convictions, not including Serious Habitual Offenders.

  57. 57

    Unfortunately, as this study only surveyed youth offenders, these numbers cannot be compared to those of non-offenders. Canadian Research Institute for Law the Family, "A Profile of Youth Offenders in Calgary: A Study of Youth Offending Patterns, Serious Habitual Offenders and System Response," from Highlights from the Interim Report - March 2008. (Calgary: Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, 2008). Available online: www.ucalgary.ca/~crilf/sub/research.html.

  58. 58

    Terence Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 1, see also 42-55.

  59. 59

    Grekul and LaBoucane-Benson, "An Investigation into the Formation...", 9.

  60. 60

    Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency, 182.

  61. 61

    Ibid, 43.

  62. 62

    Scot Wortley and Julian Tanner, "Table 4: Percent of High School Students Who Have Engaged in Various Criminal Activities Over the Past Twelve Months, by Type of Gang Affiliation," from Criminal Organizations or Social Groups? An Exploration of the Myths and Realities of Youth Gangs in Toronto. First Draft. (University of Toronto, 2007), no page numbers.

  63. 63

    Ibid.

  64. 64

    Thornberry et al., Gangs and Delinquency, 48.

  65. 65

    Ibid.

  66. 66

    See Sub-Assumption B.

  67. 67

    Sandy Prokopiw (in charge of overseeing Extrajudicial Sanctions Program), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 12, 2008; Bob Marr (Crown Prosecutor for the Yellowhead region, Alberta), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008; Mike Bradshaw (former Deputy Chief of Police for the Edmonton Police Service), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 1, 2008; Joel Whittaker (Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service Downtown Division), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008; Nadine Callihoo (former Courtworker), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta, June 10, 2008; Jim Cook (Director, Division Support Services Branch, Correctional Services Division, Solicitor General & Public Security), "RE: Cost-Benefit for Community Solution to Gang Violence - Native Counselling Services of Alberta," email to the Fiona Hossack. June 12, 2008; and Anne Wall (Head of Taxation for Legal Aid Alberta), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 11, 2008.

  68. 68

    The Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is an alternative justice measure for youth provided by the Solicitor General of Alberta by provision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Its aim is to "reduce the number of young people appearing before the court when their first conflict with the law involves a low risk offence." Once referred to the program (a referral can be made either directly by the police service or through the court system), a youth will negotiate consequences to complete within three months. Typical consequences include community service, writing letters of apology or essays, and attending Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) meetings or other counseling sessions. Alberta, "Youth Programs." Programs and Services (Edmonton: Solicitor General and Public Security, 2008). http://www.solgps.alberta.ca/programs_and_services/correctional_services/community_corrections/Pages/youth_programs.aspx#sanctions (accessed June 20, 2008); Sandy Prokopiw, May 12, 2008; and Mike Bradshaw, May 1, 2008.

  69. 69

    The referral can either be made directly through the police service, or the police can press charges and the case will end up in the court system, which would mean an officer would be required to write a lengthy report for court (another 2 hours) and then possibly attend court for a day. Mike Bradshaw (former Deputy Chief of Police for the Edmonton Police Service), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 1, 2008; and Joel Whittaker (Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service Downtown Division), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008.

  70. 70

    This excludes the possibility the file gets bounced back from the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program to the police (possibly because the youth fails to show for negotiation), in which case the police then need to track the kid down (they might spend a full day on 10 different such files doing so), and then refer the youth through the court system (see the previous note on what happens then). Bradshaw, May 1, 2008; and Joel Whittaker (Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service Downtown Division), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008.

  71. 71

    This is the very minimum number of community hours prescribed. It is common to have at least ten hours of service agreed upon. Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  72. 72

    Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  73. 73

    See Sub-Assumption B.

  74. 74

    See note 67.

  75. 75

    This hypothetical involvement with the legal system follows the typical pattern for someone caught committing an assault causing bodily harm. Nadine Callihoo, June 10, 2008; Anne Wall, June 11, 2008; and Bradshaw, May 1, 2008.

  76. 76

    A full day is considered to be 7.5 hours - (9:30 - 5:00, which corresponds to court hours). Whittaker, June 9, 2008.

  77. 77

    Whittaker, June 9, 2008; and Bradshaw, May 1, 2008.

  78. 78

    Department of Justice, "Canada's System of Justice." December 12, 2008. http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/dept-min/pub/just/08.html (accessed February 4, 2009).

  79. 79

    Callihoo, June 10, 2008.

  80. 80

    Ibid.

  81. 81

    The Extrajudicial Sanctions Program is an alternative justice measure for youth provided by the Solicitor General of Alberta by provision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Its aim is to "reduce the number of young people appearing before the court when their first conflict with the law involves a low risk offence." Once referred to the program (a referral can be made either directly by the police service or through the court system), a youth will negotiate consequences to complete within three months. Typical consequences include community service, writing letters of apology or essays, and attending Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) meetings or other counseling sessions. Alberta, "Youth Programs." Programs and Services (Edmonton: Solicitor General and Public Security, 2008). http://www.solgps.alberta.ca/programs_and_services/correctional_services/community_corrections/Pages/youth_programs.aspx#sanctions (accessed June 20, 2008); Sandy Prokopiw (in charge of overseeing Extrajudicial Sanctions Program), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 12, 2008; and Mike Bradshaw (former Deputy Chief of Police for the Edmonton Police Service), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 1, 2008.

  82. 82

    This is a purely hypothetical case, but it follows the typical pattern of an offence like assault causing bodily harm. Nadine Callihoo (former Courtworker), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta, June 10, 2008; Anne Wall (Head of Taxation for Legal Aid Alberta), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 11, 2008; and Bradshaw, May 1, 2008.

  83. 83

    For more information on these alternatives, see Assumption 4.

  84. 84

    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Benefit Cost Analysis Guide. (Ottawa: Government of Canada, July 1998): 26. Available online: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fin/sigs/Revolving_Funds/bcag/BCA2_E.asp; and Sam Brand and Richard Price, The Economic and Social Costs of Crime. Home Office Research Study 217 (London: Economics and Resource Analysis; Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, 2000): 27.

  85. 85

    Ted R. Miller, Mark A. Cohen, and Shelli B. Rossman, "Victim Costs of Violent Crime and Resulting Injuries," Health Affairs (Winter 1993): 194.

  86. 86

    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Benefit Cost Analysis Guide. (Ottawa: Government of Canada, July 1998): 19. Available online: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fin/sigs/Revolving_Funds/bcag/BCA2_E.asp.

  87. 87

    Ibid.

  88. 88

    Statistics Canada, "Canada; All Items," from CPI - 2005 Basket. M6-M7, 2002 = 100. CANSIM II, series label: V41690973.

  89. 89

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of how these hours are distributed.

  90. 90

    Nadine Callihoo (former Courtworker), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 10, 2008.

  91. 91

    Alberta, "Alberta's Minimum Wage." Employment Standards. April 1, 2008. http://employment.alberta.ca/cps/rde/xchg/hre/hs.xsl/998.html (accessed June 13, 2008).

  92. 92

    See Assumption 4 for an explanation of Revealed Preference Theory.

  93. 93

    For more information on the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program, see the footnotes of Assumption 3.

  94. 94

    This is the very minimum number of community hours prescribed. It is common to have at least ten hours of service agreed upon. Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  95. 95

    Sandy Prokopiw (in charge of overseeing Extrajudicial Sanctions Program), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 12, 2008.

  96. 96

    Alberta, "Alberta's Minimum Wage."

  97. 97

    Games are an hour and a half in length, plus an additional half hour travel to and from soccer fields. See the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association's website for regulations on game length: http://www.edmontonsoccer.com

  98. 98

    Ibid. Games are an hour and a half in length, plus an additional half hour travel to and from soccer fields. See the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association's website for regulations on game length: http://www.edmontonsoccer.com.

  99. 99

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of how these hours are distributed. Here, we assume one parent and no siblings or extended family members attend, thereby making this almost certainly an underestimate. In addition, it is more likely underestimate the true figure because the figure calculated here does not include an estimate of the amount of hours spent by the family with Defense Counsel or traveling to/from the courthouse.

  100. 100

    We have used the average hourly wage for low-income Canadians because the families studied in the narrative were both low-income families. In addition, it is a reasonable assumption because this report studies at-risk youth, who are more likely to be from low-income families than not. (See the narrative for more information.) A Statistics Canada report notes that, in 2002, Maxwell defined a low paying job in Canada as one that paid less than $10 an hour. This cut-off is simply adjusted for inflation to find the comparative cut-off in 2008.

    10.00(CPIM3, 2008/CPIM3, 2002)= 10.00(112.6÷98.9)= 11.39 (2008 $)

    Morissette, Rene and Garnett Picot. "Low-paid Work and Economically Vulnerable Families over the Last Two Decades." From the Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series. Business and Labour Market Analysis Division: Statistics Canada, 2005. Online: www.statcan.ca; and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual Hours (Worked in Reference Week); All Jobs; Both Full- and Part-Time; Both Sexes; 15 Years and Over." CANSIM II, series label: V2529271.

  101. 101

    Games are an hour and a half in length, plus an additional half hour travel to and from soccer fields. See the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association's website for regulations on game length: http://www.edmontonsoccer.com.

  102. 102

    Again, it is assumed that only one family member attends, which could be an underestimation.

  103. 103

    See note 15 for why this figure was used and how it was calculated.

  104. 104

    Bonnie Doon Community League, interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 16, 2008.

  105. 105

    For more information on the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program, see the footnotes of Assumption 3.

  106. 106

    This is the very minimum number of community hours prescribed. It is common to have at least ten hours of service agreed upon. Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  107. 107

    Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  108. 108

    The average hourly wage for Canadians was found by dividing the median salary for Canadians working full-time (41,348, 2005$) by the number of weeks in a year (52). This was then further divided by the average number of hours worked weekly by Canadians (36.9). This figure was then adjusted for inflation.

    41, 348 ÷ 52÷ 36.9 = 21.55 (2006 $)

    (CPIM3, 2008/CPIM3, 2005)= 21.55(112.6÷106.3)= 22.83 (2008 $)

    Grant, Tavia. "The Rich, the Poor, and the Chasm Between: Census data released Thursday show recent immigrants as victims of widening income disparity as middle class stagnates." Globe and Mail. May 1, 2008. Available online: www.globeandmail.com; and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual Hours..."

  109. 109

    Alberta, "Alberta's Minimum Wage."; and Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  110. 110

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of the court process.

  111. 111

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  112. 112

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of the court process.

  113. 113

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  114. 114

    Callihoo, June 10, 2008.

  115. 115

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  116. 116

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of the court process.

  117. 117

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  118. 118

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of the court process.

  119. 119

    Some employers may compensate their employees fully or partially for days spent serving jury duty, but they are not required to do so by law. See note 22 for how the figure for hourly wage was calculated. Alberta Courts, "Juror Fees and Expenses." Court Services. http://www.albertacourts.ab.ca/CourtServices/JuryDuty/FeesandExpenses/tabid/247/Default.aspx (accessed June 13, 2008); and Alberta, "Jury Duty." Justice. 2008. http://www.justice.gov.ab.ca/courts/jury_duty.aspx?id=3465 (accessed June 23, 2008).

  120. 120

    See "Court" under the Government viewpoint for a breakdown of how these hours are distributed. Here, we assume only one family member attends, thereby making this almost certainly an underestimate.

  121. 121

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  122. 122

    Paul Brantingham and Stephen T. Easton, "The Costs of Crime: Who Pays and How Much? 1998 Update." Critical Issues Bulletin. (Vancouver: Fraser Institute, 1998), 23.

  123. 123

    Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. Ocotober 27, 2008. http://www.edmontonsoccer.com (accessed February 2, 2009).

  124. 124

    Jerseys are also required, but we assume they are provided by the league with payment of the uniform deposit fee. See "Registration fees" under this viewpoint for more details. Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. Ocotober 27, 2008. http://www.edmontonsoccer.com (accessed February 2, 2009).

  125. 125

    Sportmart. http://www.sportmart.ca/ (accessed May 16); and Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. Ocotober 27, 2008. http://www.edmontonsoccer.com (accessed February 2, 2009).

  126. 126

    We assume that only one bingo/casino is required; there is a possibility that volunteers are required to do two. Source for this and the length of these shifts is a soccer mom who prefers to remain anonymous.

  127. 127

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  128. 128

    This is a purely hypothetical case, but it follows the typical pattern of an offence like assault causing bodily harm. NadineCallihoo (former Courtworker), June 10, 2008; and Anne Wall (Head of Taxation for Legal Aid Alberta), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 11, 2008.

  129. 129

    A full day is 7.5 hours long - from 9:30 - 5:00.

  130. 130

    The Court of Queen's Bench is the Superior Trial Court for the Province. Alberta Courts, "Court of Queen's Bench." http://www.albertacourts.ab.ca/CourtofQueensBench/tabid/69/Default.aspx (accessed June 23, 2008).

  131. 131

    This excludes the court related costs to the following people/groups, which are included under the other viewpoints because they are not costs borne by the government. 1) The cost to the defendant/youth is under the Youth viewpoint. 2) The cost to the youth/defendant's family is under the Family viewpoint. 3) The cost to prospective jurors is under the Community viewpoint. 4) The costs to the victim and the victim's family are under the Community viewpoint. 5) The costs to civilian witnesses are under the Community viewpoint. 6) The costs to police witnesses are under the Government viewpoint, but under the Police (2) category.

  132. 132

    Bob Marr (Crown Prosecutor for the Yellowhead region, Alberta), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008.

  133. 133

    This represents the lowest possible salary for a Crown Prosecutor in Alberta (70,448) divided by the number of weeks in a year (52) and then divided again by the average number of hours worked by Canadians per week. It is very likely an underestimate as a result.

    70,448÷ 52÷ 36.9= 36.71

    Alberta, "Crown Prosecutor." Government of Alberta Jobs: Legal. 2008. http://www.chr.alberta.ca/jobs/postings/045961.htm (accessed June 16, 2008); and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual..."

  134. 134

    Anne Wall, Head of Taxation for Legal Aid Alberta, "Costing As per this morning's Telephone Conversation," email to the Fiona Hossack. June 11, 2008; and Callihoo, June 10, 2008.

  135. 135

    This only includes the cost to the government of having jurors. See the Community viewpoint for the other costs relating to jurors.

  136. 136

    Alberta Courts, "Juror Fees and Expenses."

  137. 137

    The annual salary of a judge in Alberta (220,000) is divided by the number of weeks in a year (52) and then divided again by the average number of hours worked by Canadians per week.

    220,000÷ 52÷ 36.9 = 114.65 (2008$)

    CBC, "Alberta judges to keep $220,000 salary for three years." June 15, 2006. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2006/06/15/ed-judgeswages-20060615.html (accessed June 16, 2008); and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual..."

  138. 138

    This represents the lowest possible salary for a Court Clerk in Alberta (34,716) divided by the number of weeks in a year (52) and then divided again by the average number of hours worked by Canadians per week. It is very likely an underestimate as a result. 34,716÷ 52÷ 36.9= 18.09 (2008 $) Alberta, "Court/Counter Clerk." Government of Alberta Jobs: Administrative. March 24, 2008. http://www.chr.alberta.ca/jobs/postings/047298.htm (accessed June 16, 2008); and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual..."

  139. 139

    Duty counsel does not spend the full 7.5 hours on one case alone; they cover several cases at once. However, because they are on-call all day to help defendants, all the time is applicable.

  140. 140

    Wall, June 11, 2008.

  141. 141

    The annual salary of a justice in Alberta is assumed to be equal to that of a judge (220,000). This is divided by the number of weeks in a year (52) and then divided again by the average number of hours worked by Canadians per week.

    220,000÷ 52÷ 36.9 = 114.65 (2008$)CBC, "Alberta judges..."; and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual..."

  142. 142

    Callihoo, June 10, 2008.

  143. 143

    See note 22 for how this figure was calculated.

  144. 144

    Unfortunately, the only cost estimates available are aggregate, so this figure may not reflect the cost of adding an additional youth to the program.

  145. 145

    Prokopiw, May 12, 2008.

  146. 146

    Canadian Institute for Health Information, "Average hospital stay costs nearly $7,000 per patient in Canada." March 18, 2008. http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cw_page=media_18mar2008_e (accessed June 13, 2008).

  147. 147

    Unfortunately, the data for the marginal cost of adding an additional youth to the system were not available. Calgary Youth Justice Committee, "Social Return On Investment (SROI) Case Study: Calgary Youth Justice Committee Program: Investing to strengthen society," no date. http://www.calgaryyouthjustice.com/SROI2008.pdf (accessed February 7, 2009).

  148. 148

    The referral can either be made directly through the police service, or the police can press charges and the case will end up in the court system, which would mean an officer would be required to write a lengthy report for court (another 2 hours) and then possibly attend court for a day. Mike Bradshaw (former Deputy Chief of Police for the Edmonton Police Service), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. May 1, 2008; and Joel Whittaker (Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service Downtown Division), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008.

  149. 149

    This excludes the possibility the file gets bounced back from the Extrajudicial Sanctions Program to the police (possibly because the youth fails to show for negotiation), in which case the police then need to track the kid down (they might spend a full day on 10 different such files doing so), and then refer the youth through the court system (see the previous note on what happens then). Bradshaw, May 1, 2008; and Joel Whittaker (Staff Sergeant with the Edmonton Police Service Downtown Division), interview by Fiona Hossack. Edmonton, Alberta. June 9, 2008.

  150. 150

    This represents the lowest possible salary in the Edmonton Police Service, and is very likely an underestimate as a result. Edmonton Police Service, "Salaries." Benefits. December 23, 2007. http://www.joineps.ca/benefits/salaries/ (accessed June 13, 2008).

  151. 151

    A full day is considered to be 7.5 hours - (9:30 - 5:00, which corresponds to court hours). Whittaker, June 9, 2008.

  152. 152

    This represents the lowest possible salary in the Edmonton Police Service, and is very likely an underestimate as a result. Edmonton Police Service, "Salaries."

  153. 153

    We assume their supervisor is a Senior Constable, Level I; if the supervisor is a higher ranked officer, this figure will be an underestimate as well.  Edmonton Police Service, "Salaries."

  154. 154

    Whittaker, June 9, 2008.

  155. 155

    This represents the lowest possible salary in the Edmonton Police Service, and is very likely an underestimate as a result. Edmonton Police Service, "Salaries."

  156. 156

    Whittaker, June 9, 2008; and Edmonton Police Service, "Salaries."

  157. 157

    Callihoo, June 10, 2008.

  158. 158

    This represents the lowest possible salary for a probation officer (44,448) divided by the number of weeks in a year (52) and then divided again by the average number of hours worked by Canadians per week (36.9). It is very likely an underestimate as a result.

    44,448÷ 52÷ 36.9= 23.16 (2008 $)

    Alberta, "Probation Officers." Government of Alberta Jobs: Corrections/Enforcement/Inspection. May 16, 2008. http://www.chr.alberta.ca/jobs/postings/048676.htm (accessed June 13, 2008); and Statistics Canada, "Canada; Average Actual Hours..."

  159. 159

    Ted R. Miller, Mark A. Cohen, and Shelli B. Rossman, "Victim Costs of Violent Crime and Resulting Injuries," Health Affairs (Winter 1993): 194.

  160. 160

    This is simply the total cost of Alternative 2 divided by the total cost of Alternative 1. (273,671.38÷2,915.94 = 94.8)

  161. 161

    Mark A. Cohen, "The Monetary Value of Saving a High-Risk Youth," Journal of Quantitative Criminology 14 no. 1 (1998): 27. Based on projected costs of a career of criminal activity, drug use, and high school drop out status.

    Calculations for 1997 figures adjusted for inflation: 1.7 million (CPI2008/CPI1997) = 1,700,000(112.6÷90.2) = 2,122,172.95 (2008 $) 2.3 million (CPI2008/CPI1997) = 2,300,000(112.6÷90.2) = 2,871,175.17 (2008 $)

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