Creating Community Justice Centres London, Toronto, and Kenora
April 26, 2018 - Ontario is launching a new and innovative initiative to respond
to the overrepresentation of marginalized, racialized and Indigenous people in the
criminal justice system.
Community justice centres move justice out of the traditional courtroom and into
a community setting to help connect individuals with holistic supports that address
the root causes of crime. The centres are justice hubs that bring together services
–for example justice, health, mental health and addictions, housing, and social
services – to respond to the unique needs of the communities they serve.
In London, young adults aged 18 to 25 years make up a significant proportion criminal
charges. As these young adults age out of child protection or teenage social and
health services they often are at higher risk of entering the criminal justice system.
The city also has a large number of young adult who are unemployed or not engaged
in education or training.
Once established, London's Youth-in-Transition Community Justice Hub will:
- Support preventative programming for young adults at risk of contact with the law
- Address the unique issues relating to young adult mental health, substance abuse,
education and employment
- Develop programs/solutions to reflect evidence-based data on young adult neurological
and emotional development
- Focus on education, training, life skills and employment
Connecting young adults in-transition with critical supports at an early stage,
will help address the underlying factors leading to contact with the law.
The London initiative is one of three launching in Ontario, with the other centres
located in Toronto and Kenora. Each centre will be designed by and for the individual
community, with support from local and provincial partners. Continuous evaluation
of the centres will ensure evidence-based decisions are made to improve outcomes
and refine the services they provide.
Ontario's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable
during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription
drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare
in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum
wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.
"For vulnerable young adults with a history of poverty, homelessness, and mental
health or addictions issues, the justice system is often the first point of contact
to access programs and services. The Community Justice Centre in London will provide
comprehensive supports and services for vulnerable people to make long-term positive
changes in their lives. By providing this holistic approach, it is my hope that
we can break the cycle of re-offending by addressing the root cause of the criminal
behaviour." — Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General
"We are committed to working collaboratively to enhance timely and meaningful justice
services for the public. These kinds of innovative initiatives can have a real and
positive impact on people's lives." — Lise Maisonneuve, Chief Justice, Ontario Court
"A Youth-in-Transition Community Justice Hub will provide critical support to young
adults aged 18-25, currently spiralling in London's criminal justice system. Through
this Hub, the London Police Service will continue to strengthen links with local
health, mental health and addictions agencies, as well as continuing education and
employment organizations to improve outcomes for young people and prevent them from
falling through the gaps and getting lost in the criminal justice and correctional
systems." — Bill Chantler, Superintendent, London Police Service
"The establishment of the Youth-in-Transition Community Justice Hub in London will
improve the integration and delivery of justice, health and social services for
youth aged 18-25 years. The John Howard Society of London and District supports
youth who are involved or at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system.
The Hub will enhance our agency's efforts to collaborate with other local youth
and justice partners to address the unique needs of our youth clients and provide
them access to critical services." — Taghrid Hussain, Executive Director, John Howard
Society of London
- Ontario worked with community leaders, Indigenous service providers, health and
social service agencies, and justice partners to explore whether a Community Justice
Centre model could improve the integration and delivery of justice, health and social
services in London.
- Local design and planning will begin in fall of 2018. Implementation is forecasted
to begin in 2020.
Police-reported data shows that young adults aged 18 to 24 have the highest
rates of criminal offending of any age group in Canada.
research indicates that young adult offenders aged 18 to 24 are more similar
to youth than to adults with respect to their offending, maturation and life circumstances.
- In 2016, transition-aged youth between 18 and 25 years old accounted for nearly
one-third of all criminal arrests and charges in London.
- The CJC model in other jurisdictions has led to healthier and safer communities
with improved outcomes for recidivism rates, public safety, community well-being,
rates of incarceration, trust in the justice system, and cost savings.
Additional information on Community Justice Centres