Focus on crime prevention, not punishment

Focus on crime prevention, not punishment As a leading provider of after-school programs for children and youth in the Whitehorse area, and a passionate advocate for their well-being, Boys and Girls Clubs of Whitehorse is disappointed in the recent propo

As a leading provider of after-school programs for children and youth in the Whitehorse area, and a passionate advocate for their well-being, Boys and Girls Clubs of Whitehorse is disappointed in the recent proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The federal government’s commitment to stronger penalties and rehabilitation as solutions to youth crime, rather than emphasizing proven crime-prevention programs, is not an effective approach to addressing the troubling issue of youth justice and crime prevention.

Last week, at a gang prevention forum presented by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, I learned how successful community outreach and crime prevention programs have been in the United States in reducing youth crime. A commitment to crime-prevention programs that focuses on creating positive opportunities for youth, particularly those most at risk, is not only a more effective way of reducing crime, but requires far less funding.

Investment in after-school programs and other systems of support is seven times more effective than money spent on incarceration.

I sincerely hope Ottawa will re-focus its youth justice strategy and direct resources to the important prevention work being done in communities across Canada by the not-for-profit sector.

Dave Blottner, executive director

Boys and Girls Club

of Whitehorse