Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) is pleased to release 2018/2019 report on Time for Change (T4C), a ‘gang exit’ program that helps individuals involved in serious criminal activities to turn their lives around.
Now in its fifth year, T4C is delivering results. The report shows that participants received 55% fewer new charges than would usually be expected. And 9 out of 10 participants said support from their T4C caseworker helped keep them out of custody.
What’s more, the program saved the criminal justice system an estimated total of $1,072,048 between March 2018 and April 2019. That’s the equivalent of saving $3.37 for each $1.00 spent.
CPO co-presented the report with its author, Shoshana Moss, to the City of Ottawa’s Community and Protective Services Committee on Thursday, September 17, 2020.
An innovative approach to gang intervention
T4C takes a unique approach to gang intervention. It reaches out to at-risk individuals at critical points in their life, such as when they’re taken into custody or recovering from a shooting. Close to 400 people were referred to T4C between its launch in 2015 and April 2019, and 108 participated in the program.
The program is delivered as a partnership of the John Howard Society of Ottawa and Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO). This allows T4C to provide comprehensive, culturally appropriate supports that are personalized to each individual’s complex needs. The Ottawa Police Service is an important referral partner.
T4C case workers support individuals to find employment, learn or improve practical life skills, and explore problem solving, and helpful ways to manage emotions and who they spend their time with. Their case worker connects them with services in health, housing, education, training, jobs and more.
A safer city for everyone
T4C benefits the wider community through its work with at-risk individuals:
- It increases feelings of safety.
- It protects potential bystanders to crimes that were prevented.
- It reduces the burden on the healthcare system by preventing violence.
- It contributes to the local economy by helping participants find legitimate employment and increase their income.
More information about T4C and the Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy can be found on the CPO website at crimepreventionottawa.ca/cpo-initiatives/street-violence/.