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Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

Volume 1, Chapter 6:

Learning From Previous Reports


Introduction

In working to identify the most promising road to take from the crossroads we discussed in the previous chapter, we benefited from an enormous amount of work already undertaken in many fields relevant to an understanding of the roots of violence involving youth. From this body of work, we were able to draw upon many rich and deep veins of analysis and insight.

Prominent within that work are the many reports on racism, discrimination and the justice system that were commissioned by governments in this country over the last 30 years. Sadly, many of these reports seem to have faded into obscurity, despite the continuing soundness of their analyses and the contemporary pertinence of their recommendations.

In the first part of this chapter, we seek to bring these valuable studies back into the public discourse. We do so because of the importance of their authors’ and contributors’ insights, and also to demonstrate how clearly and consistently many key themes have been laid out for decision-makers. We believe that they provide compelling evidence that the fundamental reforms we contemplate are anchored in the views of many thoughtful individuals over several decades and respond well to concerns that have deeply troubled communities for even longer.

In the second part of this chapter, we look at some of the recent studies that have grappled with issues similar to those we are addressing, but primarily from a crime prevention or youth development perspective. Rather than provide a comparative analysis of the many reports, we highlight the broad range of issues that even a small sample of them have found to be relevant to this area of inquiry.

We must regrettably note that the many advantages brought to our work by the thinking within the government-commissioned reports also came with a significant disadvantage: the cynicism that resides in numerous communities because of the lack of action on many of these thoughtful and persuasive volumes.

Communities and individuals knowledgeable about the issues we are addressing have been consulted countless times. As just one example, Toronto’s Jane and Finch community was the subject of at least 13 studies in the space of six recent years. We doubt that this is a record. To assist with these studies and reviews, individuals are again and again invited into a room and asked to share with strangers their personal experiences and deepest feelings. Often, it seems as though they must educate the people at the front of the room about elements of their own mandates, as well as the realities in the visited communities. The process naturally raises hopes and expectations among the people consulted and in their communities.

Then come the reports, filled with thoughtful findings, valuable insights and carefully considered recommendations. After that, though, more often than not there is silence. Once again, the expectations raised are not met. With the persistent lack of action, or even feedback, cynicism grows.

That so many dynamic individuals from diverse communities nonetheless came forward to help us is a powerful testament both to the seriousness of the issues we were asked to consider and the perseverance and determination of the people who confront them daily.

We deeply appreciate the cooperation, assistance and trust we were given. But we also had to reflect on why more action had not been taken on so many good ideas. We very much want a different result for our report and believe that understanding the fate of the earlier ones is essential to advance that goal. We also want to keep the faith with those who, notwithstanding the fate of some of the earlier studies, trusted us with their stories and insights.

We believe that part of the reason for the lack of action on so many excellent reports lies in their authors’ providing specific recommendations to address all of the many wrongs and good ideas they heard. While understandable, this tends to leave the government receiving the report with a hugely complicated array of options to assess and prioritize, or sometimes just a shopping list to choose from.

At the same time, many reports did not include a governance structure or accountability framework to guide the implementation of their recommendations. It seems that the absence of a clear roadmap to show how a focused and cohesive reform agenda could flow from their report contributed to the advice of some of the previous authors falling by the wayside. With governments constantly pressed to deal with numerous complex issues across the range of their mandates, the lack of attention to the “how” in addition to the “what” can lead to a report being lost within internal committees, which have no clear advice on a structure to pull together the needed work.

For these reasons, we proceeded differently. We, of necessity, cover a lot of ground and provide much advice to the Premier, but believe that our report will be of greatest value if it focuses its recommendations on broad and sustainable long-term change and presents a viable governance structure and accountability framework to drive that change. We believe that is the best way to advance our advice and keep the faith with those who have contributed their valuable time and ideas to our review.

While our report accordingly contains fewer recommendations than previous reports, it nonetheless reflects and draws strength from the excellent work those reports did to expose and analyze so many of the key issues we confronted.

The Reports

In the first section that follows (Section 1), we discuss reports, primarily those commissioned by governments, that touch on racism and discrimination. In the following section, we present an overview of recommendations from a selection of reports that have addressed issues related to crime prevention and youth development. We cannot highlight here all of the work we reviewed—the sheer mass of material, even in a cursory summary, would easily have overwhelmed this report. For illustrative purposes, we discuss a representative selection of reports containing recommendations broadly relevant to our mandate.

For the first category, we looked at 31 reports commissioned by or, generally, submitted to governments since 1977 and drew from them 17 important themes of particular significance to our work. For the second, we considered 25 reports and drew from them another thematic overview of how they treated crime prevention, youth development and other relevant issues. In Appendix 3, we also provide a short synopsis of each of these reports so that those wanting to dig deeper can determine which might be most useful to them.

In presenting these overviews, we stress that these are not the only categories of published works we considered. The literature reviews set out in Volume 5 consider hundreds of relevant academic studies. And the work done for us by the Grassroots Youth Coalition, presented in Volume 3, reflects the views set out in several reports produced at the community level in recent years. Our contract with GYC also involved collecting and making accessible numerous other grassroots reports, on which we drew as they became available. That collection will also serve as a valuable resource for the future.

1. Reports Addressing Racism and Discrimination

This section provides a thematic overview of recommendations from key reports that addressed racism and discrimination in the context of several issues relevant to our mandate. To illustrate this earlier work, we selected 31 reports commissioned by or submitted to governments in Canada over the last 30 years:

Archibald, B. (1989). Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Volume 6 Prosecuting Officers and the Administration of Justice in Nova Scotia: A Research Study. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Brodeur, J.-P. (1991). Access to Justice and Equality of Treatment. Ottawa: Law Reform Commission of Canada.

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association.

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and Its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

Clark, S. (1989). Research Study prepared for the Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Volume 3 The Mi’kmaq and Criminal Justice in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Cole, D., and M. Gittens (1994). Racism Behind Bars: The Treatment of Black and Other Racial Minority Prisoners in Ontario Prisons. Interim Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

———(1995). Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Etherington, B., W. Bogart, M. Irish, and G. Stewart (1991). Preserving Identity by Having Many Identities: A Report on Multiculturalism and Justice. Windsor Law School Roundtable. Windsor: Faculty of Law, University of Windsor.

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group.

Gibson Smith, C. (1994). Proud but Cautious: Homophobic Abuse in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group.

Hamilton, A., and C. Sinclair (1991). Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba. Volume 1: The Justice System and Aboriginal People. Winnipeg: Government of Manitoba.

Head, W. and D. Clairmont (1989). Research study prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Volume 4 Discrimination against Blacks in Nova Scotia: The Criminal Justice System. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

House of Commons (1984). Equality Now! Report of the Special Committee on Visible Minorities in Canadian Society. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

Law Reform Commission of Canada (1991). Report on Aboriginal Peoples and Criminal Justice: Equality, Respect and the Search for Justice (Report 34). Ottawa: Law Reform Commission of Canada.

Law Society of British Columbia Gender Bias Committee (1992). Report on Gender Equality in the Justice System, Volumes 1 and 2. Vancouver: Law Society of British Columbia.

LeSage, P. (2005). Report on the Police Complaints System in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Lewis, C. (1992). Report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Lewis, S. (1992). Report on Race Relations in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Linden, S. (2007). Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

McLeod, R. (1996). A Report and Recommendations on Amendments to the Police Services Act Respecting Civilian Oversight of Police. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Ontario Human Rights Commission (2003). Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling. Inquiry Report. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Peterson, K. (1992). The Justice House: Report of the Special Advisor on Gender Equality (to the Minister of Justice). Yellowknife: Department of Justice, Northwest Territories.

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989). Report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force. Toronto: Government of Ontario.

Rolf, C. (1991). Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Policing in Relation to the Blood Tribe. Edmonton: Government of Alberta.

Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (1989a). Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Volume 1 Commissioners’ Report. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

——— (1989b). Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Volume 2 Public Policing in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General (1988). Taking Responsibility: Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General on its Review of Sentencing, Conditional Release and Related Aspects of Corrections. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta (1991). Justice on Trial: Report of the Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta (Cawsey Report). Edmonton: Government of Alberta.

Ubale, B. (1977). Equal Opportunity and Public Policy: A Report on concerns of the South Asian Canadian Community regarding their place in the Canadian Mosaic. Submitted to the Attorney General of Ontario.

Urban Alliance on Race Relations (1993, March 26). Conference report: The Justice System: Is It Serving or Failing Minorities? The Canadian Bar Association–Ontario, The Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Women’s Directorate and the Ministry of the Attorney General. Osgoode Hall, Toronto.

While these reports cover an enormous range of issues, we found within them 17 themes of particular relevance to our work. For ease of reference, we have grouped them into six general categories:

  1. The justice system generally:
    1. Research, monitor and evaluate racial and gender discrimination in the criminal justice system.
    2. Increase anti-racism, cross-cultural and gender training for criminal justice system occupations, with community involvement.
    3. Increase the number of visible minorities and women in criminal justice system occupations.
    4. Establish an Aboriginal Justice Institute.
  2. Policing:
    1. Recruit more visible minorities, Aboriginal people and women to police forces.
    2. Expand anti-racism, gender and youth-specific training for police, with community involvement.
    3. Increase community policing efforts with an anti-racism component and create a community and police advisory group on anti-racism training.
    4. Establish local community policing committees with youth participation.
    5. Limit the use of racial profiling.
    6. Monitor the use of force.
    7. Research and monitor police race data.
    8. Improve and monitor the police complaints system.
  3. Sentencing:
    1. Decrease incarceration and increase rehabilitation with diversion and alternatives to sentencing programs.
  4. Prison:
    1. Provide cultural and gender-specific training for corrections, parole and probation workers.
    2. Provide offenders with culturally appropriate services.
  5. Education:
    1. Develop an anti-racism policy for schools and school boards, provide curricula that represent Canada’s full history and, through the recruitment and training of teachers, advance equity and inclusion in the classrooms.
  6. Governance:
    1. Create a directorate and Cabinet committee on race relations.

A. The justice system

1. Research, monitor and evaluate racial and gender discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Numerous reports have illustrated the existence of racism and discrimination toward visible minorities and women within the criminal justice system. Yet, despite those reports’ recommendations, little research or monitoring exists within the criminal justice system itself to address the issue.

Several reports from Ontario and other provinces and territories have made similar recommendations on monitoring racial and/or gender discrimination and representation within the criminal justice system (Etherington, et al., 1991; Head and Clairmont, 1989; Law Society of British Columbia Gender Bias Committee, 1992).

In particular, Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S. 1992) recommended establishing an inquiry into race relations and the criminal justice system, specifying that the inquiry should look at the work of Crown attorneys, courts administration, the judiciary, adult and youth correctional facilities, community policing, and probation and parole services. As a direct result, the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System was launched in 1994. The report of that inquiry called for a pilot project, funded by the Province, to monitor the treatment of visible minorities in the criminal justice system (Cole and Gittens, 1995).

Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry went further, emphasizing the need for community involvement in the design, implementation, collection, monitoring and analysis of data —in that case, to compare how the criminal justice system has impacted Aboriginal people versus non-Aboriginal people. The report further recommended that the data collected be used to evaluate programs for Aboriginal offenders (Hamilton and Sinclair, 1991).

2. Increase anti-racism, cross-cultural and gender training for criminal justice system occupations, with community involvement.

In 1977, Dr. Bhausaheb Ubale recommended that multicultural/multiracial training should be institutionalized as a compulsory part of every police officer’s initial and service-level training (Ubale, 1977). The 1992 report Towards a New Beginning recommended anti-racism and cultural training at all levels of the criminal justice system (Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group, 1992).

Cole and Gittens likewise recommended anti-racism training programs for each justice occupation, both for educational purposes and to screen out applicants with racial biases. That report also recommended that the Office of Child and Family Services Advocacy be the designated anti-racism coordinator for all young offenders (Cole and Gittens, 1995).

In Nova Scotia, a research report prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution recommended that the attorney general establish continuing education programs for Crown prosecutors, specifically with materials on systemic discrimination toward Black and Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system (Archibald, 1989).

Another research report prepared for the same royal commission recommended that law schools and university criminology departments help provincial and federal judicial councils develop race relations education courses for judges. They also recommended that judges be encouraged to take sabbaticals to gain a better understanding of the experiences of Black and Aboriginal peoples and other visible minorities (Head and Clairmont, 1989).

Finally, there have been recommendations regarding education for visible minorities or communities about the criminal justice system (e.g., Ubale, 1977; Rolf, 1991; Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2003). This was premised on the view that many youth, especially new immigrants or refugees, may be unaware of their rights and responsibilities under the criminal justice system. Head and Clairmont also recommended that educational materials for youth be developed to explain their rights and responsibilities as citizens in dealings with the police. The importance of citizen participation in police and policy development was also underscored.

3. Increase the number of visible minorities and women in criminal justice system occupations.

Many reports have recognized the gap in the representation of visible minorities in criminal justice system occupations (including high-level positions, such as judges) and have recommended increasing representation through recruitment and promotion (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a; Brodeur, 1991). By increasing the representation of visible minorities, the criminal justice system would better reflect the ethnically diverse population it serves (Peterson, 1992). The report Towards a New Beginning recommended that relevant levels of government expedite efforts to appoint more African-Canadians to the judiciary (Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group, 1992).

It has also been suggested that recruitment of visible minorities to criminal justice system occupations should start early, in law school or relevant university programs. The Canadian Bar Association suggested that this could be accomplished, for example, by involving visible minority law students in helping to create more inclusive law schools (Canadian Bar Association, 1993).

4. Establish an Aboriginal Justice Institute.

Reports from other provinces, including a research study prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (Clark, 1989) in Nova Scotia and Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (Hamilton and Sinclair, 1991), recommended establishing an Aboriginal Justice Institute. Such an institute would address matters involving Aboriginal persons in the criminal justice system, communicate community needs and concerns to an Aboriginal criminal court and conduct research on Aboriginal customary law.

B. Policing

5. Recruit more visible minorities, Aboriginal people and women to police forces.

From the 1977 Pitman report onward, reports have persistently recommended recruiting more visible minorities, Aboriginal people and women to police forces to better reflect the communities they represent and to alleviate racism within the police service (Ubale, 1977; Carter, 1979; Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989; Brodeur, 1991; Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2003). With employment equity, racial minorities and Aboriginal communities can, by participating in the administration of justice, help their communities to speak for themselves (Urban Alliance on Race Relations, 1993).

These concerns extend beyond race and gender, indicating the depth of the concern about an unrepresentative police force. For example, a Nova Scotia report suggested that police forces establish a lesbian and gay community liaison officer and representative position to improve understanding of gay and lesbian issues, within the police and between the police and the gay and lesbian communities (Gibson Smith, 1994).

It has been recommended that police promotion policies ensure that visible minorities have equal opportunities for promotion, including to high-level police management positions (Ubale, 1977; Pitman, 1977; Head and Clairmont, 1989; Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989). The Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989) recommended a regulatory requirement for police services to establish visible minority hiring and promotion goals and timetables. Many reports have also recommended more active outreach and recruitment methods geared to visible minority communities (e.g., Pitman, 1977; House of Commons, 1984). The report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution suggested that the guidelines prepared by the Greater Toronto Region Working Group on the recruitment and selection of visible minority police officers should be circulated to other jurisdictions (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).

Reports have recommended ongoing review of and research into police recruitment methods to ensure that more visible minorities, Aboriginal people and women are hired and to identify barriers to representative recruitment (Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989; Head and Clairmont, 1989; Etherington, et al., 1991). Recruitment targets have been recommended as a way of ensuring that police services hire more visible minorities, Aboriginal people and women, and thus adequately reflect the community as a whole (Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989; Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a; Rolf, 1991). The Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989) went further, recommending that in any year in which a police force failed to meet such targets, a review board report the failure to the Human Rights Commission as an allegation of systemic discrimination in employment practices.

6. Expand anti-racism, gender and youth-specific training for police, with community involvement.

Many reports have strongly recommended cross-cultural, anti-racism and race-relations (and ethics) training for police in all positions, and that this training be integrated throughout police training, not offered as a section or single course. For example, the Pitman report recommended that the former Metro Toronto Police Commission develop a strategy for an intense program of racial and cross-cultural understanding for every member of the police force, with additional training for Community Services Officers. It also recommended placing more emphasis on pre-service training in race relations, and on racism and racial tension in in-service training (Pitman, 1977). Twelve years later, the Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989) found police race relations training inadequate and recommended an immediate moratorium on all such programs pending a full review, by several authorities and civilians, for the purposes of developing a new training program to be integrated into all aspects of police training.

Clare Lewis’s report recommended integrating race-relations and anti-racism components into the mission statements of the education and training divisions of police forces. He also recommended a police education and training division be established, with a mandate to include implementing in-service race-relations training for all Ontario police officers. Further, advisory committees with community and police representatives could be established to advise on the integration of race-relations and anti-racism content into police training. A “race-relations and policing monitoring audit board” should be established to monitor race relations in police training (Lewis, C., 1992). Justice Alexander Hickman similarly recommended establishing a system for monitoring provincial police training (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).

Other reports have recommended that race-relations training be extended beyond the beginning of a police officer’s career to be continuous and frequently updated to reflect the changing needs of the community. Stephen Lewis’s report recommended that the Government of Ontario establish an “Ontario police training, education and development board,” with police and community representation, to implement the recommendations of the Strategic Planning Committee on Police Training and Education (Lewis, S., 1992).

The Honourable Sidney Linden, commissioner of the Ipperwash Inquiry, recommended that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services issue a directive to all police services in Ontario requiring police officers to report incidents of racism or other culturally insensitive behaviour by other officers to their supervisors. He further recommended that the Ontario Provincial Police establish an internal process to ensure that racist and other culturally insensitive behaviour by police officers is dealt with publicly (Linden, 2007).

Toronto, like other urban centres, may seem to have more visible racial tensions, but small towns and remote communities are increasingly dealing with race-relations situations involving police. Areas with police forces of fewer than 100 employees may not have the capacity to implement race-relations training. Clare Lewis recommended developing protocols between such police forces and the Ontario Provincial Police for training support (such as trained facilitators) (Lewis, C., 1992).

Numerous reports have stated that visible minorities and communities must be involved in developing race-relations training for the police (Carter, 1979; Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989; Lewis, C., 1992; Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta, 1991). Officers assigned to areas of high visible minority concentration should receive appropriate race-relations training for and by visible minorities (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989b). The report on the Ipperwash Inquiry went further, proposing data collection studies designed in partnership with First Nation organizations, and an independent, third-party evaluation of police decision-making and operations with respect to awareness training and recruitment initiatives (Linden, 2007).

7. Increase community policing efforts with an anti-racism component and create a community and police advisory group on anti-racism training.

Among its many other recommendations on community relations, the Race Relations and Policing Task Force recommended that police officers regularly attend schools, citizenship classes and organization meetings in the community to explain their role and function to members of the community (Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989).

The Race Relations and Policing Task Force and many other reports recommended creating a community and police advisory group on racism training to reflect the community perceptions of policing (e.g., Rolf, 1991). The Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution recommended that the Nova Scotia Police Commission, municipal police departments and police commission boards develop innovative outreach programs and liaison roles to provide visible minorities with more positive police interaction (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).

Clare Lewis’s report recommended establishing community policing with a defined anti-racism component to eliminate systemic barriers in police policies, practices and procedures. It also recommended that advisory committees with community and police representatives be established to report to the assistant deputy minister, Police Education and Training Division. These committees would advise on the integration of race-relations and anti-racism content in police training. The community’s right to participate in setting policing policies and priorities should be clearly defined. In order to facilitate community participation, it was recommended that a community policing branch be created within the Police Services Division, with a director who would be responsible for the advancement of community policing in Ontario (Lewis, C., 1992). The Pitman report recommended establishing a task force to study community-based preventative policing (Pitman, 1977).

8. Establish local community policing committees with youth participation.

Reports by Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter (Carter, 1979) and by David Cole and Margaret Gittens (Cole and Gittens, 1995) recommended that police services establish local community policing committees at divisional levels, by geographical area or by community grouping. Part of the committees’ role would be to develop agreements with police to establish policing objectives and standards that reflect community needs. Cole and Gittens further recommend that such committees include youth. The Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989) also stipulated that membership in such committees should be reviewed regularly to ensure that representation fully reflected the community’s visible minority population.

Research prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution recommended that police officers visit schools, minority organizations and other community organizations to become more knowledgeable about and better understand the challenges faced by local communities, including children and youth (Head and Clairmont, 1989).

The Cole and Gittens report recommended that police service boards ensure that their policies for policing schools reflect community policing committee goals, and recommended that they work with school boards on guidelines for calling police into schools (Cole and Gittens, 1995).

9. Limit the use of racial profiling.

In the report Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling, the Human Rights Commission recommended that all public safety and protection organizations/institutions monitor and take steps to prevent racial profiling (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2003).

10. Monitor the use of force.

In his report, Stephen Lewis recognized the need for consensus on the use of force, to establish clearer guidelines for police officers regarding the use of force and alternatives to lethal force and to file a report whenever guns are used. He also recommended that the Ontario government promptly consult the public on and then amend the Police Services Act Regulations regarding the use of force (Lewis, S., 1992). The Clare Lewis report also recommended that police use of force be closely reconsidered and clarified (Lewis, C., 1992). Towards a New Beginning recommended the implementation of that recommendation (Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group, 1992). The report on the Urban Alliance on Race Relations conference recommended monitoring the use of force by police to determine whether it differs according to race, gender and the socio-economic status of the offender (Urban Alliance on Race Relations, 1993). The Ipperwash Inquiry report recommended amending Police Services Act Regulations to require police officers to file a report, with disciplinary repercussions for failure to do so, whenever they witness the use of force by police officers on civilians that requires medical treatment (Linden, 2007).

11. Research and monitor police race data.

Numerous reports on racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system have recommended that police departments collect and monitor racial or ethnic data on those who are accused, arrested or convicted (e.g., Etherington, et al., 1991). Research prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution recommended that police departments be required to collect, maintain and monitor data by race and ethnicity regarding harassment and complaints against police (Head and Clairmont, 1989).

Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S., 1992) and Clare Lewis (Lewis, C., 1992) both recommended establishing a community-based monitoring and audit board to work with police forces and municipalities, in conjunction with the Race Relations and Policing Branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, to conduct a systematic audit of police race relations policies. (Clare Lewis had earlier made a similar recommendation as chair of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force (Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989)). That recommendation was supported in Towards a New Beginning (Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group, 1992).

12. Improve and monitor the police complaints system.

Although the terms of reference of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force did not include an examination of the mechanisms for dealing with complaints about the police, it did recommend that a definition of racially prejudiced police behaviour be developed and incorporated into the regulations to the Police Act (Race Relations and Policing Task Force, 1989). Such a definition would have had the effect of signalling to the community the types of police behaviour that could form the basis of a race-related complaint.

In his Report to Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens, Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter recommended establishing a commissioner of complaints to act as a judge in overseeing race-related complaints against the justice system (Carter, 1979). Stephen Lewis recommended that the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner be given the mandate to conduct the initial investigation and adjudication of race-related complaints (Lewis, S., 1992).

Roderick McLeod’s Report and Recommendation on Amendments to the Police Services Act Respecting Civilian Oversight of Police recommended that existing complaints and discipline systems be modernized and streamlined (McLeod, 1996).

In his Report on the Police Complaints System in Ontario, the Honourable Patrick LeSage suggested that a stronger form of civilian oversight of the police is needed to correct existing problems and to strengthen the community’s confidence and trust in them. He recommended creating an independent civilian body to administer the public complaints system in Ontario, to receive complaints and determine whether they should be pursued further. It would be led by a civilian (not a police officer) and include an advisory group with community and police representatives to discuss systemic concerns, and undertake to educate the public about the complaints system (LeSage, 2005). Legislation based on the report has been passed by the Ontario government and awaits implementation.

After Nova Scotia established a new Police Review Board to handle race-related complaints, a report recommended that the board be closely monitored to ensure that it handled racism and discrimination complaints against the police effectively (Head and Clairmont, 1989). Other reports recommended including visible minorities on complaints appeal bodies (e.g., Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta, 1991). The report on the Urban Alliance on Race Relations conference strongly suggested that police-related complaints should be collected and monitored by a public board of inquiry, independent of the police (Urban Alliance on Race Relations, 1993). Cardinal Carter also supported an independent complaints mechanism (Carter, 1979).

C. Sentencing

13. Decrease incarceration and increase rehabilitation with diversion and alternatives to sentencing programs.

In 1987, the Canadian Sentencing Commission1 reviewed numerous reports from official bodies on parole and sentencing in Canada from 1831 to 1983. All the reports concluded that incarceration is “debilitating rather than rehabilitating” and recommended that incarceration be moderately applied (cited in Brodeur, 1991).

After public hearings and visits to correctional institutions, a second report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General (chaired by David Daubney) in 1988, supported the Sentencing Commission’s original recommendation to develop alternatives to the use of incarceration (Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General, 1988).

Other reports recommended that more diversion and alternative sentencing programs be developed with communities specifically for Black and Aboriginal peoples (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a; Archibald, 1989; House of Commons, 1984; Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General, 1988). An alterative measures program would also include reconciliation and restoration of peace measures within the community. The Law Reform Commission of Canada recommended alternatives to prison be used whenever possible, and that programs providing alternatives to sentencing be accessible for Aboriginal peoples and other visible minorities (Law Reform Commission of Canada, 1991).

The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba saw a need for a new approach to sentencing wherein incarceration would only be used when the offender posed a danger to another individual or the community, when it reflected the gravity of the offence, or when an offender did not comply with the terms of any other sentence. The report further suggested that the Government of Manitoba establish an Aboriginal diversion and alternative measures program that integrated Aboriginal culture and communities. The inquiry also recommended that Aboriginal parole officers supervise all Aboriginal offenders, and that cross-cultural training be provided for all non-Aboriginal probation staff (Hamilton and Sinclair, 1991).

Diversion and alternatives to sentencing have been proposed specifically to keep youth out of prison if possible. The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba recommended that police look at alternatives to laying charges in cases involving Aboriginal youth and use their discretion where appropriate (Hamilton and Sinclair, 1991). Cole and Gittens recommended that the Ministry of the Attorney General establish a protocol with the Federal Department of Justice to allow youth charged with drug offences to be diverted from the criminal process into alternative measures programs. They also recommended that the Ministry of Community and Social Services, with existing bail programs and community organizations, consider a bail supervision program for youths aged 12-15 (Cole and Gittens, 1995).

A research report prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. prosecution recommended that the Criminal Code contain counterparts to the alternative measures provisions of the Young Offenders Act for disposing of and diverting cases against adult Aboriginal offenders. It also suggested that the alternative measures guidelines be amended so that, for young offenders, alternative measures programs would be considered in every case (Clark, 1989).

The Law Society of British Columbia recommended that, given the lack of social services available for young women in the province, judges should “exercise restraint in the use of criminal sanctions towards female juveniles, to prevent a revictimization of these youth.” It also recommended that governments reduce the number of women incarcerated for non-violent crime and increase the use of electronic monitoring and community-based sentences. Where incarceration is necessary, it was recommended that local facilities be used to maintain contact between women and their families and to help them keep their jobs (Law Society of British Columbia Gender Bias Committee, 1992). While this applied to young women, it could also be applied to youth generally.

D. Prison

14. Provide cultural and gender-specific training for corrections, parole and probation workers.

The Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution recommended ongoing anti-racism training for all corrections, parole and probation workers, and that such training be developed with communities. In addition, the report recommended establishing a clear policy stating that any discriminatory conduct (including racial slurs) by correctional workers would not be tolerated. The report also recommended recruiting more Aboriginal and Black people in professional and non-professional positions in correctional services. It further suggested that where there are a significant number of incarcerated Aboriginal and Black people, corrections institutions offer programs meeting their educational, cultural and religious needs (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).

15. Provide offenders with culturally appropriate services.

Many reports, particularly those focused on the incarceration of Aboriginals and African-Canadians, recommend that they be provided with culturally appropriate services in correctional institutions. The reports of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution supported rehabilitation programs for Aboriginal and Black inmates and former inmates that take into account their background and needs (Hickman, 1989; Clark, 1989).

The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba recommended that correctional institutions develop a policy through which Aboriginal elders (recognized by provincial Aboriginal organizations) would provide Aboriginal inmates with traditional assistance or spiritual advice and counselling (Hamilton and Sinclair, 1991).

E. Education

16. Develop an anti-racism policy for schools and school boards, provide curricula that represent Canada’s full history and, through the recruitment and training of teachers, advance equity and inclusion in the classrooms.

The Ubale report and the Pitman report, Now Is Not Too Late, both recognized a need to accept the reality of racism within schools (Ubale, 1977; Pitman, 1977). Seven years later, the Equality Now report recommended that provincial governments urge school boards to develop and implement a race relations policy (House of Commons, 1984). Stephen Lewis’s Report on Race Relations in Ontario recommended that the Minister of Education establish a strong monitoring mechanism to follow up on the implementation of anti-racism policies in Ontario school boards (Lewis, S., 1992).

A report on anti-gay and anti-lesbian abuse from Nova Scotia went further and recommended that all school boards, colleges and universities develop a zero-tolerance policy for violence (Gibson Smith, 1994). The Towards a New Beginning report recommended that Toronto education boards establish a public body, reporting to the board of trustees, to consider race-related issues raised by students, teachers and parents Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992).

However, developing race-relations and anti-violence policies would be ineffective while Ontario’s educational curriculum continues to largely exclude visible minorities, including African-Canadians and Aboriginals. Bhausaheb Ubale’s report recommended revising both teacher training and the school curriculum to be more inclusive and to eliminate stereotypes (Ubale, 1977). Clare Lewis’s report recommended revising the school curriculum to include anti-discrimination and diversity training (Lewis, C., 1992). The Pitman report suggested that school boards be given adequate funding to develop and implement multicultural programs and materials on the roots of minority people in the City of Toronto and programs for children and adolescents designed to stop racism towards visible minorities. The report also recommended providing more professional development focused on racism for teachers and school administrators, as well as developing a community education program on race-related issues for children and parents (Pitman, 1977). The Ipperwash Inquiry report recommended that the Ministry of Education establish formal working relationships with Aboriginal organizations to promote more Aboriginal perspectives and content in the elementary and secondary school curricula (Linden, 2007).

Equality Now! supported those recommendations and further recommended that a then-proposed ministry of multiculturalism examine the inclusiveness of the curriculum, including reviewing teaching and resource materials to identify possible racial bias. It said boards should introduce a home-school liaison officers program and develop multicultural student leadership programs. The report also suggested that government and school boards increase the number of visible minorities in teaching and administrative positions through affirmative action programs (House of Commons, 1984). A report to the Minister of Justice of the Northwest Territories, The Justice House: Report of the Special Advisor on Gender Equality, encouraged more inclusion of women in education and the curriculum (Peterson, 1992).

Equality Now! recognized the significance of early learning. It recommended more funding for research and development of minimum standards for those working in early childhood education, multicultural teacher-training materials and early childhood curriculum material that reflects positive race-related values (House of Commons, 1984). Cardinal Carter’s report also encouraged teaching understanding of diverse peoples and communities early in elementary and high schools (Carter, 1979).

Stephen Lewis’s Report on Race Relations in Ontario recommended revising the curriculum to better reflect the dynamics of Ontario’s multicultural society. Looking further to postsecondary education, he recommended that the ministers of education and colleges and universities review admission requirements to Ontario faculties of education to ensure that they are attracting and enrolling qualified visible minority candidates. He also suggested that the Minister of Colleges and Universities ensure that the governing boards of colleges and universities reflect the changed society of Ontario. Further, he recommended that the minister consider a race-relations policy previously proposed by the Council of Regents of the Community College system, as a model for post-secondary institutions (Lewis, S., 1992).

F. Governance

17. Create a directorate and Cabinet committee on race relations.

The Ubale report proposed an institutional framework for a comprehensive attack on race relations problems that would require cooperation among all levels of government and more community involvement in planning and decision-making (Ubale, 1977). Fifteen years later, and noting the Cabinet Committee on Race Relations, which had operated in Ontario from 1979 to 1990, Stephen Lewis recommended that a Cabinet committee on race relations be once again formed, chaired by the then Minister of Citizenship. In his model, the Cabinet committee would meet four times a year with a group of people from visible minority communities who would help inform the committee’s agenda (Lewis, S., 1992).

The Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution also recommended a Cabinet committee on race relations be established, to include the attorney general and solicitor general. It would meet regularly with representatives of visible minority communities to discuss issues related to race and the criminal justice system (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).

Stephen Lewis recommended that the Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat be converted into a freestanding Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate, which would report to the Minister of Citizenship and work with community groups. The directorate would serve as a secretariat for meetings and provide research and advice. It would also work with communities to formulate a community development design, which would incorporate previous recommendations and ideas that had not been implemented (Lewis, S., 1992).

In Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recommended that the government establish a Racial Diversity Secretariat to report annually on issues of racism in Ontario. It would also report on the implementation of recommendations in previous reports related to racial profiling and to Aboriginal peoples. The secretariat would influence and support the development of government policy to incorporate racial diversity and equity and engage in raising public awareness and education activities related to these issues (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2003).

2. Reports Addressing Aspects of Crime Prevention

All three orders of government, along with school boards and community groups, have studied and reported on crime prevention and youth development. As with the reports relating to racism and discrimination, we were again struck by the similarities in the recommendations. They urged focusing efforts outside the justice system and bringing to bear the coordinated efforts and resources of families, schools, communities, agencies and government. These reports are just the tip of an enormous iceberg. We examined and considered many more. The reports we chose to include here are illustrative rather than definitive.

This section provides a thematic overview of recommendations from key reports that addressed various aspects of crime prevention, youth development and other matters related to the mandate of our review. To illustrate this earlier work, we selected 27 reports:

Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force. (2007). Keeping Communities Safe: Report and Recommendations of Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force. Edmonton: Government of Alberta

Canadian Criminal Justice Association. (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31(August), 4-23.

Cooke, D. and J. Finlay. (2007). Office of Child and Family Advocacy Review of Open Detention and Open Custody in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario

Joyette, D. and M. Oda. (2005). Black Creek West Community Capacity Building Project: Phase III Towards Resource & Capacity Development Action Plan. Toronto: Joyette Consulting Services.

Ma, Stephanie J. (2004). Just Listen to Me: Youth Voices on Violence. Toronto: Government of Ontario Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy.

National Crime Prevention Centre. (2000a). Policy Framework for Addressing Crime Prevention and Children Ages 0 to 12.

———.(2000b). Policy Framework for Addressing Crime Prevention and Youth Ages 12 to 18.

National Crime Prevention Council. (1995). Clear Limits and Real Opportunities: The Keys to Preventing Youth Crimes. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

———.(1997a). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families. An Integrated Approach to Promote Positive Outcomes in Children. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

———.(1997b). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families. Promoting Positive Outcomes in Children Six to Twelve Years Old. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

———. (1997c). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

——— Economic Analysis Committee. (1996). Money Well Spent: Investing in Preventing Crime. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

——— Youth Justice Committee. (1995). Mobilizing Political Will and Community Responsibility to Prevent Youth Crime. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

Nova Scotia. (2007). Our Kids Are Worth It – Strategy for Children and Youth. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia. Department of Justice, Policy, Planning and Research. (2006). Perspectives on Youth Crime in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Nunn, M. (2006). Spiralling Out of Control: Lessons Learned From a Boy in Trouble. Report of the Nunn Commission of Inquiry. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Office for Children, Youth and Family Support. (2004). Action Plan for Young People. Canberra: Australian Capital Territory

Region of Peel Public Health. (2006). Peel Youth Violence Prevention: Toward a Bright Future. Brampton: Region of Peel.

Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices. (2007, December 3). Conference report. Department of Justice Canada, City of Toronto. University of Toronto, Toronto.

School Community Safety Advisory Panel. (2008). The Road to Health: A Final Report on School Safety. Toronto: Toronto District School Board.

Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General. (1993). Crime Prevention in Canada: Toward a National Strategy. Twelfth Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. (2006). Out of the Shadows at Last. Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Services in Canada. Ottawa: Senate of Canada.

The Griffin Centre. (2005). Jane Finch Neighbourhood Action Plan Report. Toronto: City of Toronto.

Toronto District School Board Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools. (2004). Report: Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools. Toronto: Toronto District School Board (The Falconer report).

Tymchak, M. and Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit. (2001). Toward a New School, Community and Human Service Partnership in Saskatchewan. Final Report of the Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School to the Minister of Education of Saskatchewan. Regina: Government of Saskatchewan.

Warner, R. and Grassroots Youth Collaborative. (2005). Youth on Youth: Grassroots Youth Collaborative on Youth-led Organizing in the City of Toronto. Toronto: Grassroots Youth Collaborative.

Youth Networking Forum. (2006, January 20). Conference report. City of Toronto. City Hall, Toronto.

While these reports cover an enormous range of important issues, we found within them 18 themes of particular relevance to our work. For ease of reference, we have grouped them into six general categories:

  1. Overall observations:
    1. An overall strategy that links interventions across departments is required.
    2. Collaboration across disciplines and sectors must be strengthened to avoid fragmentation.
    3. The criminal justice system can’t do it all; programs must be multidisciplinary.
    4. The focus needs to be on crime prevention.
    5. Programs require stable long-term funding to be effective.
  2. Eliminate child and family poverty:
    1. Focus on children/youth and their families who are living in conditions of multiple risk.
  3. Early interventions:
    1. Establish or expand “head start” programs.
    2. Focus on early identification of difficulties and intervention.
    3. Access to mental health treatment is critical.
  4. Involving family and community:
    1. Improve parenting skills.
    2. Programs must be created by and for the community.
    3. There is a need for community partnerships.
    4. Expand availability of public space and facilities.
  5. The education system:
    1. Use multidisciplinary service teams in schools.
    2. Ensure that suspended students have access to professionals beyond the classroom teacher.
  6. Youth engagement and youth helping youth:
    1. Involve youth in planning and implementing solutions to problems.
    2. Support peer mentoring.

A. Overall observations

The first three groups of observations below are all related.

1. An overall strategy that links interventions across departments is required.

Numerous reports made the point that an overall strategy is required to address crime prevention and social development. The Horner Report (Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General, 1993) called for a national crime prevention policy based on the following principles: (1) Crime prevention should be included in the mandates of multiple federal departments, including justice, immigration, housing and social and economic development departments; (2) All levels of government must work together; priorities for crime prevention are best determined at the local level; (3) A multidisciplinary effort to address root causes of crime is required; and (4) Prevention measures include law enforcement, community-based policing, social development and the reduction of criminal opportunities. Subsequently, the National Crime Prevention Centre (formerly Council) (NCPC) developed policy frameworks in two papers (NCPC 2000a, NPPC, 2000b ), for crime prevention for children and youth of different age levels. The following were some of their key guiding principles:

In its 1997 paper Preventing Crime by Investing in Families (NCPC, 1997a), the NCPC proposes that local, provincial and federal governments develop a comprehensive crime prevention strategy involving educational, social and health services, police, courts and corrections.

The 2007 report of Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force recommended that the Province establish a comprehensive, longer-term crime reduction and prevention strategy, coordinated and supported by a dedicated responsibility centre within the provincial government. Such a strategy would give focus to many of the initiatives already underway in the province and help coordinate actions across the various provincial government departments and public sector organizations.

The Nunn Commission (Nunn, 2006) recommends that Nova Scotia develop a comprehensive strategy to coordinate its programs, interventions, services and supports to children and youth at risk and their families. The Province has done so, in its 2007 report, Our Kids Are Worth It — Strategy for Children and Youth (Nova Scotia, 2007).

2. Collaboration across disciplines and sectors must be strengthened to avoid fragmentation.

Several reports have noted that this is a key gap in addressing crime prevention. In its Policy Framework papers (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b), the NCPC calls for this to be a key guiding principle of any crime prevention strategy.

The Alberta report (Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007) recommended that the use of multidisciplinary teams to address crises in communities be expanded.

The Nova Scotia government reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006 and Nova Scotia, 2007) emphasize this need to strengthen collaboration. One of the key directions in Our Kids Are Worth It is “Co-ordinate Programs, Services.”

The 2001 report of the Saskatchewan Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School recommended that Cabinet recognize the lack of coordination created by the different geographical boundaries used by various human services agencies — and do whatever is required to remedy this. While its report dealt with schools, the same issues of lack of collaboration across disciplines caused the task force to recommend that the responsibility for SchoolPLUS (an integrated service model for schools) belong to all human services departments, including social services, health, justice and education, as well as their agencies and community organizations.

The Australian Capital Territory, Blueprint for Young People “at Risk” 2004-2008 (part of the Action Plan for Young People) has a three-pronged approach, one being to provide improved coordinated assistance. For them, the collaboration extends to the need for common case management approaches across ACT, government and community organizations.

3. The criminal justice system can’t do it all; programs must be multidisciplinary.

Even before the NCPC reports in 1995 (NCPC, 1995 and NCPC, Youth Justice Committee 1995), there was a recognition that the criminal justice system is not going to solve all of the problems underlying crime. Justice system policies and programs must be tied to other social policies and programs. There must be multidisciplinary efforts. These two reports in fact found that the criminal justice system was being used inappropriately to deal with health and social problems. These reports also speak of the need for a constellation of programs to solve the issues at hand.

In its policy framework reports (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b) the NCPC notes that other policy areas also have a role to play in addressing crime prevention, including health, social, housing and the economy.

In its report Preventing Crime by Investing in Families (NCPC, 1997a), the NCPC goes further, emphasizing that initiatives must offer support across the major systems of influence in a child’s life: family, school and community.

Both the 1993 report of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General (the Horner Report) and the Nova Scotia government reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006 and Nova Scotia, 2007) note that crime and the causes of crime must be addressed. The justice system alone cannot address youth crime. A consistent and coordinated multi-systemic approach is needed.

4. The focus needs to be on crime prevention.

The majority of the reports reviewed called for an emphasis on crime prevention, as opposed to modifying the criminal justice system. The NCPC (NCPC, 1997a), noting that detection, deterrence and detention are very expensive, called for a focus on crime prevention to make meaningful reductions in human suffering and loss, community victimization, and dollars spent on services for young offenders and their families.

The Alberta report (Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007) notes that not enough is being done to prevent crime. Starting young and addressing the factors that put children and youth at risk is a proven strategy that will secure the best results in the longer term.

5. Programs require stable long-term funding to be effective.

One of the keys to effective interventions, as noted in the 1995 NCPC reports (NCPC, 1995 and NCPC, Youth Justice Committee, 1995) is continuity. To be effective, programs must have stable long-term funding.

The Alberta report (Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007) recommends that three-year provincial funding be provided for community-based social agencies with proven outcomes to stop the annual funding cycle, which requires substantial resources every year to apply for funding.

Perspectives on Youth Crime in Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006) supports this, noting that many crime prevention activities require long-term investments before results can be seen.

The importance of stable funding is also noted in several of the community reports, most notably Griffin Centre (2005), Joyette (2005) and Warner (2005).

B. Eliminate child and family poverty

1. Focus on children/youth and their families that are living in conditions of multiple risk.

In the NCPC’s 1997 reports (NCPC, 1997a, NCPC, 1997b and NCPC, 1997c), it notes that a crime prevention strategy must address child poverty. It states that many youth now described as “repeat offenders” have often been “repeat victims” as children. Further, it is the combination of risk factors that children and youth experience, especially if these factors are multiple, persistent and not balanced by protective factors, that lead to negative outcomes. In its policy framework reports (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b), the NCPC has as a key guiding principle that any strategy must focus on children and youth and their families who are living in conditions of multiple risk.

These thoughts were echoed in many reports, including Perspectives on Youth Crime in Nova Scotia, which added that programs that involve families are more effective than those that do not. Although limiting its solution to targeted pilot projects, the Alberta report noted that services should “wrap around” the families, providing a wide range of targeted programs and services to meet their needs.

C. Early interventions

Numerous reports recognize the importance of early interventions, going back to before a child is born. As the NCPC noted (NCPC, Youth Justice Committee, 1995), approaches that work emphasize early prevention and intervention.

1. Establish or expand “head start” programs.

These programs often involve home visits to parents and babies, especially those living in conditions of risk. The NCPC notes (NCPC, 1997a) that the most effective programs take services to the family, and that these types of programs have been successful in decreasing parental isolation and improving outcomes for children.

The Nova Scotia government reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006 and Nova Scotia, 2007) note that these programs work and have emphasized them as one of five key directions, calling it “Build a Strong Foundation.”

2. Focus on early identification of difficulties and intervention.

The NCPC (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b) notes that the earlier the identification of problems and referrals for treatment, the better the outcomes for children, particularly if the approaches used are sensitive to the cultural, ethnic, linguistic and other key characteristics of the families and communities. Other reports also support these statements, including the Nova Scotia government reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006 and Nova Scotia, 2007), which have “Identify Problems, Help Early” as one of the five key directions. The Australian report (Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, 2004) notes that these interventions are important to help minimize the number of young people “in risk” in the future.

3. Access to mental health treatment is critical.

The importance of access to mental health treatment is emphasized in several reports, in particular in the 2006 report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (the Kirby Report). Kirby notes that the current system is overburdened by a shortage of psychiatric specialists, psychologists, nurses and social workers in the area of child and youth mental health and recommends that governments address the problem. Given this shortage, and the amount of time it takes to increase the capacity in the system, the report recommends the use of tele-psychiatry (especially for under-serviced regions); alternative treatment models, such as group therapy (where clinically appropriate); and case conferencing to bridge the gap during a period of restructuring to enhance the mental health system’s ability to assist children and youth.

The Kirby report also makes important recommendations regarding age cut-offs for programs and transitions from youth to adult services. These include that age cut-offs for services be based on clinical and not budgetary or other bureaucratic considerations, that services for children and youth be linked to adult services to ensure seamless transition, and that gaps where individuals are ineligible for treatment in either system be avoided.

The Alberta report (Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007) reiterates this, recommending that at-risk children, youth and young adults have access to full-time, longer-term, intense treatment for addictions and mental illnesses. It further recommends that treatment be expanded to include young adults up to the age of 22.

One of the Nova Scotia reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006) notes the need to address waiting lists for mental health treatment and proposes a two-pronged approach – the use of tele-health and a team approach.

D. Involving family and community

1. Improve parenting skills.

In its reports on preventing crime by investing in families (NCPC 1997a, NCPC, 1997b, and NCPC, 1997c), the NCPC notes that children and youth need responsive, involved parents, who provide competent parenting. It also notes that skills training has been shown to be an effective way of promoting good parenting. In 1997a, the NCPC notes that the types of supports provided will depend on the age range of the children. Furthermore, it states community-based supports are best.

One of the Nova Scotia reports (Nova Scotia Department of Justice, 2006) notes that there is a gap in assisting parents when home visit programs end (usually at age three in that province) so it is testing a Parenting Journey Program that will extend supports until a child is 16.

Several of the community reports highlight the need for initiatives to develop better parenting skills, most notably Region of Peel Public Health (2006) and The Griffin Centre (2005).

2. Programs must be created by and for the community.

The 1995 NCPC reports note that effective prevention must encourage parents, other family members, neighbours and community members to get involved. They also suggest that community ownership is essential; a cookie-cutter approach will not work. The NCPC notes, however (NCPC, 2000b), that not all communities are at the same level of development and so different approaches to infrastructure development, capacity building, development and implementation are needed.

In its policy framework papers (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b), the NCPC proposes, as a key pillar of any crime prevention policy framework, community engagement and sustained participation.

The Australian report (Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, 2004) sees the development of joint government and community initiatives as a way of strengthening outcomes for young people. This point was stressed in all the community reports.

3. There is a need for community partnerships.

This is stressed in many reports, in particular the community reports. The Alberta report (Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force, 2007) notes that the best solutions to crime issues come when communities and community agencies work together to tackle neighbourhood issues and make community safety a priority.

4. Expand availability of public space and facilities.

The NCPC (NCPC, 1997b) notes the availability of space for all types of recreation is an important resource for communities.

The Saskatchewan report (Tymchak and Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit, 2001) recommends that the government authorize the principle that all services for children and youth in the province be delivered in an integrated, school-linked environment that is, where possible, school-based.

The Australian Capital Territory Young People’s Plan (part of Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, 2004) includes four key directions, one of which is “Access.” A key priority under this direction is increasing young people’s access to public space.

Several of the community reports address the issue of space. The Peel report (Region of Peel Public Health, 2006), for example, highlights the use of school space after hours, as well as a need to promote the use of under-used facilities.

The report of the School Community Safety Advisory Panel (chaired by Julian Falconer) recommends that selected schools in a school board should be designated as community hubs.

E. The education system

1. Use multidisciplinary service teams in schools.

There are two aspects to these recommendations: one is that services be offered during the school day; the other is that services for children and youth be delivered in an integrated environment (as recommended by the NCPC in 1995) and perhaps school-based (as recommended in the Saskatchewan report, 2001).

The Horner report (Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General, 1993) recommends the establishment of school-based teams, including social workers, child/youth workers and teachers, to help families navigate and access mental health services, and also that the mental health services for children and youth be provided in the school setting.

The Report: Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools, prepared for the Toronto District School Board in 2004, recommends a reinstatement of a variety of support workers in schools, including child care workers, youth support workers, community liaison workers and educational assistants.

Most recently, the Falconer report (School Community Safety Advisory Panel, 2008) recommends that the TDSB establish school-based teams to help family caregivers navigate and access mental health services for youth. Additionally, this report recommends that schools with high suspension/expulsion/drop-out/absenteeism rates have full-time social workers, child and youth workers, and child and youth counsellors and that youth counsellors be dedicated to high-priority schools. Finally, the board should provide “wrap-around” programming in schools with a large number of students at risk of falling outside of the education system.

2. Ensure that suspended students have access to professionals beyond the classroom teacher.

The Nunn Commission (Nunn, 2006) recommends that adequate space, staff and programs be provided for in-school alternatives to out-of-school suspensions.

The Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools (Toronto District School Board, 2004) recommends that appropriate mandatory programs be developed for suspended and expelled students.

The issue of school suspensions was also addressed in several of the community reports.

The Falconer report (School Community Safety Advisory Panel, 2008) recommends that, upon a student’s second suspension, a multidisciplinary team meet with the student and their parents to determine whether the student requires alternative education measures and/or counselling.

F. Youth Engagement

1. Involve youth in planning and implementing solutions to problems

The 1995 NCPC reports noted that to promote the responsibility, involvement and integration of young people, youth must be involved in the planning and, where possible, in the implementation of actual approaches developed to prevent youth crime. Youth need a voice in what happens to them — and need a chance to be part of the solution.

In its policy framework papers (NCPC, 2000a and NCPC, 2000b), the NCPC calls for the participation of youth in the process, including youth in or leaving care.

The Nova Scotia report Our Kids Are Worth It (Nova Scotia, 2007) notes that young people must have a voice and be involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of programs and services affecting them. “Engage Youth, Promote Shared Accountability” is one of the key directions of this strategy.

A key direction for the Australian Capital Territory’s Young People’s Plan is “Participation.” Key priorities under this include increasing young people’s involvement in government and in the development and evaluation of programs and services designed to meet their needs.

Most of the community reports (e.g., Region of Peel Public Health, 2006, The Griffin Centre, 2005, Youth Networking Forum, 2006, Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices, 2007, and Ma, 2004) highlight the need to get youth involved, including through participation in government, volunteerism and youth-led initiatives.

The Falconer report (School Community Safety Advisory Panel, 2008) recommends that school boards, legislators and educators develop mechanisms to encourage meaningful youth participation in the creation of safe school environments and to elevate the voice of children and youth in the school, in accordance with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

2. Support peer mentoring.

Several reports emphasize the importance of peer mentoring as a way of helping youth form positive attachments and supportive environments. These include the NCPC (1997c) and several of the community reports (Youth Networking Forum, 2006 and The Griffin Centre, 2005). The Falconer report (School Community Safety Advisory Panel, 2008) recommends that the TDSB implement a peer-based education program, supervised and supported by teachers, youth and social workers.


1 2006 Canadian Criminal Justice Association. Brief to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. House of Commons 39th Parliament, 1st Session on Amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada (Conditional sentencing) Bill C-9. Ottawa. Link http://www.ccja-acjp.ca/en/c9en.html


Contents

Volume 1. Findings, Analysis and Conclusions

Volume 2. Executive Summary

Volume 3. Community Perspectives Report

Volume 4. Research Papers

Volume 5. Literature Reviews