OTTAWA — Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) has released a cost-benefit report on the Time for Change (T4C) program for the period April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

CPO is co-presenting the report with its author, Shoshana Moss, to the City of Ottawa’s Community and Protective Services Committee today.

T4C is a ‘gang exit’ program that helps individuals involved in serious criminal activities to turn their lives around. Now in its fifth year, T4C remains CPO’s largest investment in the Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy.

“The program reaches out to high-risk individuals at strategic points in their lives, such as when they’re taken into custody or recovering from a shooting. This proactive approach is a first in Canada for this focus and client population,” says Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of CPO. Close to 400 people were referred to T4C between its launch in 2015 and April 2019, and 108 participated in the program.

The report reveals that T4C saved the criminal justice system an estimated total of $1,072,048 during the period covered. The program’s return on investment works out at $3.37 for each $1 spent.

T4C participants received 55 per cent fewer new charges than would be expected without intervention. Only one of these charges was for violence, meaning the program reduced violent offences by 61 per cent. And nine out of 10 participants felt that the support they received from their T4C caseworker helped keep them out of custody.

The report also outlines the wider benefits of the program for Ottawa and its residents, such as increased feelings of community safety and a reduced burden on the healthcare system. T4C operates as a partnership of the John Howard Society of Ottawa and Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) acting as an important referral partner.

“Innovation in partnerships is at the heart of T4C’s success. It allows the program to offer flexible and comprehensive support that’s tailored to meet each participant’s complex needs,” says Alison Newson of the John Howard Society of Ottawa.

More information about T4C and the Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy can be found on the Crime Prevention Ottawa website.