Backgrounder - Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award 2012

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The Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award was established in 2000 in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP). The award recognizes police officers who, individually or as a team, develop approaches for dealing with youth in conflict with the law that go beyond the formal court system. It celebrates innovative policing and serves to inform the police and wider community about creative responses to youth crime.

Specifically, the award recognizes individuals or teams whose programs exemplify the goals and objectives of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), including:

  • The use of measures that, as described in the YCJA, go beyond the usual course of legal proceedings or the authority of a court, such as warnings, cautions, and referrals to community agencies;
  • Providing advice to decision makers in the youth justice process;
  • Contributing to the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth who have been found guilty of a crime.

All nominees must demonstrate a commitment to helping young people understand the impact of their actions and encourage the involvement of parents, families and communities in the justice system.

Winner

The winners of the 2012 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award are Sergeant Brent Kalinowski and Constable Mathew Gray of the Prince Albert Police Service's Community Mobilization Prince Albert (CMPA) program.

The Community Mobilization concept and approach was started in February 2011. It has attracted provincial and national attention with many communities interested in replicating the process. Through a collaborative effort, involving provincial partners and non-government organizations, the CMPA program focuses on early interventions to prevent the entrenchment of at-risk youth in the justice system.

CMPA is comprised of two equally-important elements, one dealing with the individual and the other addressing issues in the community.

The HUB committee, which includes Sergeant Kalinowski and Constable Gray, is comprised of personnel from many provincial partners including police, probation, social services, corrections, health, mental health, education, addictions and others. The HUB meets twice a week to discuss relevant cases of "elevated risk" among individuals or families. The appropriate agencies that hold a piece of the solution are identified and a meeting with the individual is then scheduled to offer services and assistance. Many of the individuals brought forward to the HUB are youth. CMPA helps to address the systemic issues such as housing, addictions, or mental health that lead some to recidivism, encouraging youth to make better choices.

The second part of the CMPA program is the Centre of Responsibility (COR). The COR deals with systemic causes on a larger scale. Truancy, addictions, mental health, and family violence are all causes of youth criminality and victimization. The COR is comprised of members of various agencies and focuses on community problems. The COR develops community action plans and strategies to combat current community issues. CMPA often partners with non-governmental organizations in the community in order to make referrals of youth in conflict with the law. The program also supports the reintegration of these youth with activities created by CMPA in partnership with local school boards.

Whether through referrals, committees, conferencing or reintegration of young offenders, the Community Mobilization Prince Albert program offers an innovative approach to giving youth in the community an opportunity to make better choices and keep communities safe.

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Department of Justice Canada
August 2012