Alternative program for young offenders : a project evaluation

Lead researcher: Nico Trocmé, Catherine Roy
Student researcher: Katrina Cherney
Agency/Partner: CIUSSS Ouest de l'ile de Montreal 

Status: Ongoing

The objective of the “Alternative Program for Young Offenders: Supporting Integration and Smart Choices” pilot project is to help rehabilitate and reintegrate youth in custody as they transition back into the community.  The overarching, long-term goals of the program are as follows:Reinforce positive reintegration back into the community by having clients participate in pre-employment and vocational training, and specialized projects to develop life skills. Provide youth with legal employment alternatives to criminal lifestyles when they leave our units, and educational workshops on alternative lifestyles to gangs, guns and drugs. Develop partnerships and collaborations with community organizations in order to provide the opportunity for our youth and community partners to work together. The underlying assumption of the program and the evaluation is that recreational programming can provide opportunities for relationship building and the development of useful life skills, both of which are vital for healthy and sustainable community reintegration.  The program is modelled on the “Circle of Courage”, a holistic, strengths-based philosophy of youth development and empowerment, and informs both program implementation and evaluation.  The Circle of Courage promotes the development of the four intersecting dimensions: belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.