ROTARY CLUB OF TORONTO – LEASIDE FUNDS
PACT YOUTH CRIME PROGRAM FOR LAUNCH INTO TORONTO COURT
CLUB MAKES 5-YEAR, $15,000 COMMITMENT TO FIGHT YOUTH CRIME AND HELP VICTIMS
LEASIDE ROTARY PRESIDENT ELECT JANIS HEINBUCH
PRESENTS CHEQUE TO PACT CO-FOUNDER DAN CORNACCHIA
Thursday, April 1, 2004 – TORONTO, ON. – The PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program today announced a five-year, $15,000 commitment from the Rotary Club of Toronto – Leaside, to help fund the program’s launch into the Downtown Toronto Youth Court.
The PACT program, www.pactprogram.ca, which has been successfully running out of the Metro East Youth Court in Scarborough, Ontario for 24 months, is beginning its launch into the downtown Toronto Youth Court at 311 Jarvis. The program effectively deals with court backlogs and youth crime through an aboriginal victim/offender mediation process. Preliminary tracking numbers show a reduction in the young offender re-offense rate by 90 per cent.
“As Rotarians, we must constantly work to help sustain a world of peace and humanity,” said James Dunn, President, Rotary Club of Toronto –Leaside. “With ongoing conflict in so many parts of the world, its important to take action at the community and club level to bring about Urban Peace. PACT provides an immense opportunity for Leaside Rotary and the community it serves.”
With The Rotary Club of Toronto – Leaside’s leadership, PACT can help heal between 35 and 40 victims of youth crime, and deal effectively with 35-40 young offenders by getting to them early and eroding the foundation for criminal behaviour.
“A major component of safe communities includes grassroots-based action plans such as the Rotary Urban Peace Initiative, said Dan Cornacchia, co-founder, PACT Youth Crime Reduction Program. “The Rotary Club of Toronto – Leaside has shown solid leadership in terms of looking at holistic solutions for crime prevention and has helped PACT pave the way for a sustainably-funded downtown Toronto operation of youth advocacy and urban crime prevention.”
ABOUT ROTARY URBAN PEACE
The notion of Urban Peace comes from Rotary International. Rotary founder Paul Harris who was compelled by the contradictions inherent in his own city Chicago, circa 1905 — great economic and family prospects were offset by areas of brutality, crime and poverty. The thinking continues that Rotary clubs can best influence global peace by tackling these issues at the local level through supporting and designing programs that help keep young people out of the cycle of violence as either the victims or perpetrators of such acts.
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.
Phase 1 — The Resolution Conference
Inspired by a model developed in the Australian aboriginal community, a dialogue is initiated between the victim, offender, family, community and police. This exchange leads the offender through a process that shows how their behaviour have impacted others and how the act of taking responsibility can lead to healing the emotional wounds for everyone involved. The group decides on a set of actions in which the offender agrees to follow. A legal contract is signed and monitored and may include an apology letter, community work, and/or financial compensation for the victim and the community.
Phase 2 — Specialized Counseling
Offered to re-offenders and the most seriously traumatized victims. PACT utilizes the most effective methods and counselors to assist in the transformation of these individuals.
Phase 3 — Coaching and Mentoring
Used in situations that require ongoing help, this level of the program is geared towards the most serious young offenders. A young offender is assigned a personal coach who they work with individually and in-group sessions for up to one year. The strategies for this phase have been derived from the best coaching programs in the world.
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
PACT YOUTH CRIME REDUCTION PROGRAM