An empirical evaluation of the RCMP's youth intervention and diversion strategy in New Brunswick

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University of New Brunswick


The present dissertation is an evaluation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) Youth Intervention and Diversion (YID) strategy with justice-involved youth in the province of New Brunswick. The YID strategy aims to divert youth away from the criminal justice system and into community-based programs to address identified criminogenic needs, with the goal of reducing future contact with law enforcement. This strategy operates under the Risk-Need-Responsivity model of effective offender case management (RNR; Andrews & Bonta, 2010a). Using a combined methods approach, the outcomes and processes of the YID strategy were evaluated. Police files were accessed to obtain police contact records, youth risk assessments and case plans for 100 diverted (YID) youth. Police contact records of 100 non-diverted (non-YID) youth were accessed to serve as a comparison group. The archival information was used to explore the characteristics of YID youth and the impact of diversion involvement on recidivism rates. Case plans were also assessed for adherence to the RNR model. Contextual information regarding the processes of YID was gathered from an interview with a former youth participant of the program. Results indicated that YID youth did not differ significantly from non-YID youth on rates of recidivism, or the time to first re-contact with police. However, when YID youth did reoffend, they committed less serious antisocial acts than non-YID youth. Adherence rates to the overall RNR model were low. Specifically, low adherence was observed for the Risk and Need principles. There was not enough information available to code the Responsivity principle. Qualitative data (n = 1) revealed two themes highlighting some procedural deficiencies within the process as well as the positive impact the program can have on youth. Results have been used to develop recommendations to improve the RCMP YID strategy in the province of New Brunswick and to consider when implementing the YID strategy in other jurisdictions.