Tories Cut $35.6 Million From Youth Rehabilitation

Canada’s tough on crime government has quietly cut funding from youth justice programs meant to rehabilitate young offenders. They will still be funding transfers to the provinces to rehabilitate young offenders, but the transfers are being cut by 20 percent, the transfers have been in place since 1984. The cuts will take effect in April of 2013.

The Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, announced the government’s continued support for youth justice services on June 27 without mentioning the cut of $35.6 million.

Less money, of course, means fewer options for judges when it comes to sentencing young people, unless the provinces take on the extra cost themselves – unlikely in this age of deficits.  Unfortunately, a lack of programs for rehabilitation and reintegration into society will mean more youth moving through the system as adults. Jailing instead of rehabilitating will wind up costing the government more when they sit in prison.

According the the Canada Council on Social Development (CCSD), Canada already has the highest rate of youth incarceration in the Western world even though studies have shown that incarceration increases the risk of re-offending. The CCSD quotes a project that took place in Massachusetts between 1970 and 1972. During that time the focus was solely on rehabilitation for young offenders. There were mentoring programs and skills development. A study by Harvard University found that offenses were reduced by 30 percent.

The CCSD states that Canada took measures to reduce youth incarceration, introducing the Youth Criminal Justice Act to replace the Young Offenders Act, but now the Harper government is taking a step back.

Along with the cuts to transfers for rehabilitation programs, the Harper Tories have also introduced tougher sentences for young offenders in the omnibus budget bill, C-38. The Quebec government fought back against the changes, as that province focuses heavily on rehabilitation, but their protests fell on deaf ears.

The Tories say they are focusing on the ‘protection of society,’ but these changes show more of the short-sightedness we see consistently with this government.

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Violence Rising In Crowded Canadian Prisons

Photo Credit: Jason Bain


Julie Cook
Past Member 5 years ago

Steve R. I suppose that it matters very little to you why these people are jailed, how old they are or what alternatives there are to long prison sentences. It has been shown time after time that rehabilitation is not only cost effective, but reduces recividism. Consider the following:
• Cost of incarcerating a Federal prisoner (2004/5): $259.05 per prisoner/per day
• Cost of incarcerating a Federal female prisoner (2004/5): $150,000-$250,000 per prisoner/per year
• Cost of incarcerating a Federal male prisoner (2004/5): $87,665 per prisoner/per year
• Cost of incarcerating a provincial prisoner (2004/5): $141.78: per prisoner/per day
• The cost of alternatives such as probation, bail supervision and community supervision range from $5-$25/day.

If that's not enough look up the following link:

Here it outlines how incarceration without attempt to rehabilitate simply does not work. "human service-based interventions reduce criminal recidivism; punishment does not.

So, I think that cutting the funding to youth justice programs is self defeating and totally backward.

paul m.
paul m5 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Michael O.
Michael O5 years ago

No news here. Harper's policy on rehabilitation is "lock 'em up and throw away the key". The only problem - the facts show that it doesn't work. All your doing is creating career crimainals who will reoffend when they are finally let out. This policy reduces public safety; it certainly does not enhance it.

But then again Harper has never been one to let the facts get in the way of his ideology :-(

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

Isn't it amazing that criminals violate our rights, and then we have to pay for them to be "rehabilitated"?

How well does "rehabilitation" work?

In my opinion, it's better to make life so tough and unpleasant for them that they will NEVER want to go back to prison.

That's more likely to "rehabilitate" them!

Patty B.
Patty B5 years ago

$35.6 from yuth rehab ? What cowards when they should have fined the banksters that swindled and stole. Cowards to confront the very criminals that bankrupted their country who continue to buy politicians and and bankrupt countries.

Dianne Prang
Dianne Prang5 years ago

Harper will not survive another election.... I am sure of that.
Canadians will not know what hit them by once Harper's Tories delve into the higher costs of locking away all the criminals.
I firmly believe Harper is out of touch with the majority of Canadians regarding tough on crime bills. Once he starts tampering with medical weed, that will be interesting.
The silly part is that crime in Canada has actually improved over the years (not Harper years).
The costs will be too high for everyone on many levels.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush5 years ago

What, in fact, a criminal act is.......treating mentally ill people as criminals.
Could someone show me any mentally ill person, who chose to be born with this condition?
When any nation, uses prison as a mental facility, they have lost all sense of compassion, which puts you in a category of Nasiism.

Realistically, we are a Republic, not a Democracy.
Definitions -
REPUBLIC: a state or government, specif. one headed by a president, in which the power is exercised by officials elected by the voters.
DEMOCRACY: goverment by the people, directly or through representtives; equality of rights, opportunity, and treatment.
FASCISM: a system of government characterized by dictatorship, belligerent nationalism, racism, militarism, etc.
SOCIALISM: a theory or system of ownership of the means of production and distribution by society rather than by individuals.

Having considered these definitions, can you see our right-wing conservatives, leaning toward a FACIST way of life?
It's appears perfectly clear to me.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Very sad and wrong

Richard Lares
Richard Lares5 years ago

I have worked in this field for some time. I know let just put them back in school next to your child. They need help before its to late. Can you say DA