A National Survey of Youth Justice Committees in Canada

Appendix A - Survey Instruments (continued)

Youth Justice Committtes Draft Interview Schedule

[Ask to speak to the volunteer Chairperson of the YJC.]

This interview is being conducted as part of a national survey of Youth Justice Committees. This survey is sponsored by the federal Department of Justice. For this survey, the purpose is to discover how many YJCs there are in Canada, and to obtain information on the nature and scope of their work. We are also seeking your thoughts about the future of YJCs, where they are going and the challenges they face. The final report will be a public document.

Do you have any questions before we begin?

  • YJC Name
  • Location
  • Telephone
  • Fax
  • email address
  • YJC coordinator's (or other key contact's) Name
  • Host Agency
  • Interviewee's name (if different from above)

What is your role in the YJC process?

  1. Director/coordinator
  2. Staff member
  3. Volunteer coordinator or other volunteer
  4. Other (specify)

How long have you been doing that? years

Membership, Partnership and Leadership

  1. How many volunteer members are there on the YJC in total?
  2. Is there a local Board of Directors or some other advisory body which guides the YJC and its processes?
    1. Yes (details of who [positions] - Crown ex officio, etc.)
    2. No
  3. Who [name and position] is the YJCs key contact person within the YJS?
    1. Police
    2. Crown
    3. Court
    4. Other (specify )
    5. Don't know
    6. NA
      Name:  [not coded]
  4. Is there a paid Coordinator or any other paid position or part-time position in or for the YJC?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  5. [If yes] In total, how many paid positions are there which support the YJC (e.g., one-half, one)?  positions
  6. Who funds these positions?
    1. First worker
    2. Second worker
    3. Third worker
  7. What functions do the people in these paid positions carry out? [probe]
    1. Purely paperwork and routing of paperwork
    2. Intake (receipt of referral, contacting youth and parent, backgrounders, etc.)
    3. Other casework activities (contacting victim, asking for victim input, etc.)
    4. Scheduling YJC hearings
    5. Arranging and supervising completion of measures
    6. Liaison with police, Crown, etc.
  8. Is there a philosophy which seems to be at the basis of who is chosen to be a member of the YJC (let interviewee use own words, then check as many below as apply)?
    1. Representative of the community/area
    2. Representative of the various sub-communities in the community
    3. Representative of the families in the community (Aboriginal)
    4. Sound judgment, common sense
    5. Experience with youth
    6. Related former or current professional background or experience
    7. A mix of laypersons and people with some professional background
    8. Other (specify)
  9. Would you say that there are currently any gaps in the YJC membership - in terms of anything at all - things like the age range of members, gender, language, culture, all parts of the community represented, experience with youth, anything at all?

Training

  • 10. How many of the current YJC members have had any professional experience working in the YJS or related fields like social work?
  • 11. Must YJC members undergo training in order to participate?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  • 12. What is the length of this training? hours
  • 13. What is the content of this training?
    1. Background on the YJS
    2. Background on YJCs and their role
    3. Skills training (e.g., interviewing, active listening)
    4. Skills training in dispute resolution/mediation/conflict resolution
    5. Other (specify)
    6. Don't know
    7. Not applicable

Roles of the YJC

  • 14. Now I would like to ask about the role, or roles, played by the YJC members. What all does the YJC do? Does it … [prompt] [If someone else, e.g., a worker for the host agency, does the role, do not count it]
    1. Make decisions about youth eligible for alternative measures
    2. Make decisions about youth not eligible for alternative measures
    3. Provide advice to youth courts on sentencing of individual youthful offenders
    4. Provide advice to other members of the YJS (specify) on appropriate measures for youth
    5. Plan and deliver youth crime prevention programs (e.g., drug prevention)
    6. Conduct mediation or reconciliation between youthful offenders and victims
    7. Provide support and assistance to victims (beyond information role)
    8. Meet with youth, their families and community members in order to work out the best solutions to youth crime (Family Group Conferencing)
    9. Find or provide placements for youth to perform community service or other elements of the measures
    10. Help youth to find work
    11. Help youth to make school-related adjustments (get back in school, find tutors, etc.)
    12. Help youth to find other community services or programs to meet their risks or needs
    13. Help youth to find counselling, treatment, etc.
    14. Mentor youth who have committed an offence
    15. Teach youth about their Aboriginal culture and traditions
    16. Follow up on youth (tracking their performance on CSOs, restitution, etc.)
    17. Do public education on youth justice
    18. Mobilize support and resources for new programs for youth (generally), e.g., substance abuse programming
    19. Provide any of the above services for adult offenders or accused persons
    20. Other (specify)
  • 15. How would you characterize the philosophy of the YJC [let interviewee describe in own words, then check as many as apply below]?
    1. Providing community alternatives to imprisonment for youth
    2. Repairing the conflict between the youthful offender and the victim
    3. Putting some of the responsibility for crime prevention back in the community
    4. Making youth accountable for their actions/providing consequences/providing an appropriate response to youthful offending
    5. Creating more tailored responses for troubled youth
    6. Re-creating an indigenous (Aboriginal) approach to youth crime or taking back Aboriginal authority over justice matters
    7. Other (specify)

Eligibility Criteria

  • 15. a. What offences are eligible for decisions or recommendations by the YJC?
  • 16. What is the offence found most frequently in the cases handled by the YJC (e.g., theft under, mischief, shoplifting, common assault)? [prompt for one or two most common]
  • 17. Are there offences which are ineligible for the YJC process, but which you think should be eligible?
  • 18. Are there other criteria which are considered in the decision to accept or reject a case?
    1. Youth admits responsibility for offence
    2. First offence or other prior record limit
    3. Youth's mental capacity
    4. No violence in offence
    5. Youth arrives sober
    6. Youth lives in local area
    7. Youth is Aboriginal
    8. Other (specify)
  • 19. How would you describe the majority of cases that are handled by the YJC, in terms of how serious the offence is and the youth's needs are? Would you say the majority of cases are:
    1. Not serious at all
    2. Not very serious
    3. Somewhat serious
    4. Very serious
    5. NA
  • 20. Are there any cases accepted by the YJC which you believe could be handled in a more informal manner?
    1. No
    2. Some
    3. Yes
    4. NA
  • 21. [If yes] How then should they be handled?

Process

  • 22. At what stage(s) in the YJS does the YJC become involved in specific cases of youth accused of an offence [check all that apply]?
    1. Before charges are laid
    2. After charges are laid but before any court finding of youth responsibility
    3. After conviction in youth court
    4. At the sentencing stage
    5. Other (specify)
  • 23. Where do most referrals of individual youth come from?
    1. Police
    2. Crown
    3. Youth Court
    4. Other (specify)
  • 24. Who is responsible for intake (receiving the referral, preparing the case for decision-making, ensuring the case fits the criteria for acceptance by the YJC, doing any early paperwork, etc)?
    1. Host agency worker
    2. Volunteer YJC member
    3. Other volunteer
    4. Paid staffer
    5. Other (specify)
  • 25. I assume there is a meeting or hearing at which decisions are made about individual youth cases …. How many members sit together to decide individual cases of youth?
  • 26. Does the paid coordinator attend, help make decisions too?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  • 27. Does a worker or volunteer read a formal statement to the youth and parent/guardian, explaining their rights in the YJC process?
    1. Yes
    2. No

      [If yes] Would it be possible for me to get a copy of this statement?

  • 28. Are the youth and parent/guardian asked to sign a statement indicating that they understand their rights in the YJC process?
    1. Yes
    2. No

      [If yes] Would it be possible for me to get a copy of this form?

  • 29. Are victims invited to participate in the YJC meeting/hearing with youth?
    1. Yes
    2. Sometimes
    3. No
  • 30. [If yes] How often do victims participate at meetings/hearings?
    1. Rarely
    2. Occasionally
    3. Frequently
    4. All the time or almost all the time
    5. NA
  • 31. Who else attends YJC meetings/hearings with youth on a regular basis?
    1. Police
    2. Youth's family
    3. Victim surrogate
    4. Band Council member(s)
    5. Other (specify)
  • 32. Are victims contacted for information about how the offence affected them?
    1. Yes
    2. Sometimes
    3. No

Funding and Resources

  • 33. Not including in-kind assistance received (such as office space, photocopying privileges, etc.), how much funding in total does the YJC receive to carry out its work with youth (i.e. this year)?$
  • 34. What are the sources of this funding?
    1. Provincial/territorial government (total given = $ )
    2. Grants or contributions (total given = $ )
    3. Charitable fundraising (total raised = $ )
    4. Other (specify)
  • 35. What in-kind assistance do you receive, from [the host agency], government department, community agency or other source (check as many as apply)?
    1. Office space
    2. Administrative support (with paperwork, budgets, etc.)
    3. Intake or other skilled services (casework, liaison with police, etc.)
    4. Office supplies and services (photocopying, postage, etc.)
    5. Other (specify)
  • 36. Would you say the amount of in-kind assistance provided is: 1. a little, or 2. a lot?

Sustainability

  • 37. Now I am going to read you a list of challenges often faced by YJCs. I would like you to tell me if any of these challenges are present with your YJC.
    1. Difficulty in recruiting enough members
    2. Turnover - difficulty in keeping members around for long enough
    3. Too many cases - too much burden on the YJC members
    4. Not enough cases/referrals (such that members are losing interest and skills)
    5. Not enough funding
    6. Not enough administrative support
    7. Not enough support from police, Crowns, YJS generally
    8. Not enough victims willing to participate
    9. Not enough support from the community
    10. Not enough community resources to meet the needs of youth (CSO placements, mentoring, etc.)
    11. Host agency is in danger of folding
    12. Other sustainability issues mentioned (specify)
  • 38. Now I would like to ask you about whether you think that the YJC is sustainable - that it will still be around in a few years' time?
    1. Yes
    2. Perhaps
    3. Yes but in a different form or reduced role
    4. No
    5. Don't know
    6. NA
  • 39. What is it about your YJC that makes it work, makes it as good as it is [best practices]?

The Future

[the following questions are only for the 20 in-depth interviews]

  • 40. In your opinion, what would it take to make the YJC more sustainable?
  • 41. In your opinion, what would improve the YJC or its functioning?
  • 42.What methods have been effective in recruiting of new YJC members?
  • 43.Are there any community resources needed to make the youth justice process more effective? E.g., are there any youth needs that are really not being met?
  • 44. Has the YJC had any negative or unintended impacts? [prompt for net widening]
  • 45. Are you aware of any provisions in the upcoming Youth Criminal Justice Act which will affect YJCs?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  • 46. Which ones stand out in particular (check which are mentioned; do not prompt)?
    1. Expanded potential roles
    2. Proportionality principle
    3. Other principles
    4. Procedural fairness requirements
    5. Giving victims the opportunity to participate
    6. Other (specify)
  • 47. Have these been discussed by the YJC membership as a group?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  • 48. Are there plans for the YJC and its partners to discuss the implications of the Act for the YJC?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  • 49. Are any difficulties anticipated with any of these new parts in the Act?
    1. Yes
    2. Minor adjustments
    3. No
  • 50. [If yes] Which provisions are expected to cause you difficulties and why?
  • 51. I would like to read you a list of activities and ask you whether there has been any discussion of whether the YJC might in future expand its role to do any of them:
    1. Considering cases involving more serious youth offences or more troubled youth
    2. Delivering AMP (Alternative Measures Program) services
    3. Providing advice to youth courts on sentencing of individual youthful offenders
    4. Providing advice to other members of the YJS (specify) on appropriate measures for youth
    5. Planning and delivering crime prevention for youth programs
    6. Conducting mediation or reconciliation between youthful offenders and victims
    7. Providing support and assistance to victims (beyond information role)
    8. Meeting with youth, their families and community members in order to work out the best solutions to youth crime (Family Group Conferencing)
    9. Finding or providing placements for youth to perform community service or other elements of the measures
    10. Helping youth to find work
    11. Helping youth to make school-related adjustments (get back in school, find tutors, etc.)
    12. Helping youth to find other community supports
    13. Helping youth to find counselling, treatment, etc.
    14. Mentoring youth who have committed an offence
    15. Teaching youth about their Aboriginal culture and traditions
    16. Following up on youth (tracking their performance on CSOs, restitution, etc.)
    17. Doing public education on youth justice
    18. Mobilizing support and resources for new measures for youth (generally)
    19. Providing any of the above services for adult offenders or accused persons
    20. Other (specify)

Cases and Caseloads

  • 52. Finally, I wonder if there are any caseload statistics which are kept that you could share with me, things like the number of cases referred to the YJC each year, who they are, what measures they receive, etc…

Document Checklist to Ask for

  • 53. Documentation sought from YJCs includes:
    • Policy Manual
    • Eligible offences
    • Other criteria for program acceptance
    • Rights statement
    • Waiver/consent form
    • Any and all available statistics, e.g., on case numbers, offences involved, measures
Date modified: