PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program

PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program

November 17, 2005 13:31 ET

Toronto Rotary Clubs Tackle Youth Crime with $75,000 in donations

Scarborough leaders join together - give community a chance to heal itself. Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 17, 2005) - In the spirit of Restorative Justice Week, November 13-20, the PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program today announced it has received $15,000 this year from three Rotary Clubs in Scarborough, to help fight youth crime and reduce violence in Toronto. The Rotary Club of Scarborough is the third Scarborough-based Rotary club - after Agincourt and North Scarborough - that has contributed $5,000 to address this social crisis this year. Overall, Toronto Rotary Clubs have contributed $75,000 in the past 22 months to the privately-funded youth crime program.

The donations are part of a larger trend. Recently, Mayor David Miller and Ontario Chief Justice, Roy McMurtry as well as other politicians and judicial insiders have urged greater government and community support for programs that attack the roots of Toronto's street crime. However, programs cannot expect complete and sustained financial support from governments.

Community groups like Rotary, are comprised of business leaders that often live and work in crime-affected neighbourhoods, and are tired of not seeing tangible results. These people are interested in action and results, and it's why they are taking action in terms of fundraising and volunteerism.

"There is an acute the need for community-based solutions to youth crime in Scarborough," said Dan Cornacchia, co-founder of PACT. "The PACT Program is designed by businesspeople to draw on the business community and volunteers to help solve youth crime."

FREE UP COURT RESOURCES
The whole aim of the PACT approach to youth justice is to deal with many less serious and first-time offenders at the community level. This also goes a long way to freeing up court and police resources so they can deal with the most serious crimes and offenders more effectively and with greater resources.

"The Rotary Clubs of Scarborough have rolled up their sleeves and decided to take responsibility and action to reduce court backlogs and youth crime in Toronto," said Lockett, "By getting to these kids early and eroding the foundation for criminal behaviour, we give the community a chance to heal itself."

The PACT program was born out of The Metro East Youth Court in Scarborough in 2001. The program began running out of the Metro West Youth Court serving North York and Etobicoke in December 2003 and has recently launched in both downtown Toronto (311 Jarvis) and York Region (Newmarket.)

HOW PACT WORKS:
Crown Attorneys, probation officers and judges are able to offer suitable young offenders the option to participate in PACT. The young offenders must adhere to the conditions and successfully complete the program, otherwise they will continue through the normal court system.

The PACT Resolution Conference
The PACT process is designed as an aboriginal healing circle called the resolution conference that recreates the events and circumstances of a crime scene through the individual interpretations of everyone involved (arresting officer, victim, offender, parents, teachers, etc.)

This process then creates an emotional understanding of the impact of the crime on everyone involved, especially the victim and the offender, leading to acceptance of responsibility, forgiveness, reconciliation, reform and reintegration. A binding resolution contract is drawn up and must be adhered to in order to avoid charges.

Community Service Programs
PACT community service projects strive to combine productive community contribution with practical skills development. The community service strategy adopted by PACT includes both innovative and exciting programs such as The PACT Main Course Youth Cooking School, The PACT Youth Film School and The PACT Urban Reforestation Project. Every PACT offender is supervised while at their placement, and reports are sent directly to PACT coordinators and judicial partners ensuring that the assigned hours are completed.

ABOUT PACT
PACT (an acronym for the PACT process of participation, acknowledgment, commitment and transformation,) is a program designed to decrease the burden on the courts, while dramatically reducing youth crime. It does so by positively changing the behavioural patterns of young offenders who have been charged and convicted of criminal acts. Visit PACT at www.pactprogram.ca

Media Contacts:

Terance Brouse
Community Relations
PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program
Work (905) 832-7653
tbrouse@pactprogram.ca

/For further information: http://www.pactprogram.ca/ IN: JUSTICE, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • terance Brouse, Community Relations, PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program
    Primary Phone: 905-832-7653
    E-mail: tbrouse@pactprogram.ca