Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

August 21, 2011 19:00 ET

Minister of Justice Announces Winner of the 2011 National Youth Justice Policing Award

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2011) - The Vancouver Police Department's Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section is the winner of the 2011 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award for a program that provides youth with resources and alternatives to gang involvement.

Parliamentary Secretary Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Q.C., M.P. for Delta-Richmond East, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, presented the award at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in Windsor, Ontario.

"I am proud to recognize this year's award recipients, whose work has provided troubled youth with the opportunity and confidence to make better choices," said Ms. Findlay. "These officers have demonstrated an outstanding level of personal dedication and commitment to finding innovative solutions to tackling the issue of youth crime."

The Vancouver Police Department won for their Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (E.A.S.Y.) program. Based on years of experience and work forging more positive and trusting relationships with the Vancouver urban Aboriginal community, the Vancouver Police Department's Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section started the E.A.S.Y. program to combat youth crime and gang recruitment.

A Certificate of Distinction was also awarded to Constable Perry Mason of the Hamilton Police Service for his years of commitment and dedication to working with youth who come into contact with the law. Over the past 32 years, Constable Mason has gained extensive policing experience in dealing with bullying and youth justice issues. He is one of the first police officers in Hamilton to use restorative practices and has become an expert on restorative justice and healing circles.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate the team members of the Vancouver Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section's E.A.S.Y. program and Constable Perry Mason, and also thank each and every police officer, for their hard work in keeping our communities safe," said Ms. Findlay.

The Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award is sponsored by the Department of Justice in collaboration with the CACP. Award criteria include innovation and creativity and the use of community-based resources as alternatives to formal court processes. Also considered are effective uses of police discretion, conferencing, alternatives to custody and the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth in conflict with the law. For more information about the Award, the winners and nominees, please visit http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/yj-jj/awards-prix/awards-prix.html.

Backgrounder:

MINISTER OF JUSTICE NATIONAL YOUTH JUSTICE POLICING AWARD 2011

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 crime.

All nominees must have demonstrated 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 2011 Minister of Justice National Youth Justice Policing Award are Inspector Mario Giardini, Sergeant Malcolm Cox, Constable Cheryl Leggett, Constable Ara Pehlivanian, Constable Rick Lavallee, Ms. Lori Beckstead and Ms. Beth McArthur of the Vancouver Police Department's Eastside Aboriginal Space for Youth (E.A.S.Y.) program.

The Vancouver Police Department's Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section started the E.A.S.Y. program in 2010 to combat youth crime and gang recruitment. The program was based on years of experience and work forging more positive and trusting relationships with Vancouver's urban Aboriginal community. Section members devoted countless hours of work and personal overtime to this innovative program to help young people who have come into conflict with the law turn their lives away from criminal and gang involvement.

The Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section works with the courts so that the program can be used as a probationary condition for youth and that participation in the program can be considered a mitigating factor in sentencing. The team works with front-line officers to ensure that referrals to the program are considered as an alternative to arrest and that referrals to other partnership programs working in speciality areas such as mental health and/or addictions needs are considered.

The program provides youth with resources and alternatives to gang involvement. Because of the work of this section through programs such as E.A.S.Y., involvement in crime among youth has dropped, and negative behaviours that lead to criminal involvement or recidivism such as drug use have declined by 25% for youth involved in the program.

Certificate of Distinction

The 2011 Certificate of Distinction has been awarded to Constable Perry Mason for his years of commitment and dedication to working with youth who come into contact with the law. In particular, his progressive work with restorative justice and healing circles exemplifies the principles of a balanced approach to justice as set out in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Constable Mason has more than 32 years of policing experience with extensive involvement, both personal and professional, in dealing with bullying and youth justice issues. He was one of the first police officers in Hamilton to use restorative practices and has become an expert within the Hamilton Police Service on restorative justice and healing circles.

Restorative justice is a holistic approach that encourages the involvement of parents, family and the community. Constable Mason has had a great deal of success over the years in engaging parents and family of youth to participate. His work has helped young people to understand, at a deeper level, the impact their actions have on victims and the often far-reaching consequences of their antisocial behaviour.

As a strong supporter of the use of restorative justice practices, Constable Mason has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the training and implementation of staff and partner organizations. He was pivotal in starting a committee within the Hamilton Police Service to explore ways that restorative justice can be used within the Service. He currently sits on the Restorative Justice Steering Committee for the City of Hamilton, in addition to the newly formed Hamilton Police Service Restorative Justice Committee.

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Contact Information

  • Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621
    www.canada.justice.gc.ca

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207