HEAT Program Activities
The specific activities of the HEAT program will include (in addition to the original screen and assessment):
1. A restorative justice approach - All youth (low, medium, and high) will participate in a victim-offender mediation or community justice forum (to determined by the HEAT coordinator). The agreement reached through the mediation/CJF may include restitution, personal or community service hours, a letter of apology, or specific counseling as identified by the restorative justice process (e.g. Alcohol Drug Services). In addition to providing therapeutic treatment value to the youth and family, this component will ensure the victim is considered, offered the opportunity to participate, and receives the maximum possible satisfaction from the process (this is supported by research). Once the terms of the mediation/CJF agreement have been met the youth will be considered to have successfully dealt with the criminal charge and a recommendation will be made to the court that the charge be stayed.
2. Additional programming, as described, will be determined by the risk and strength indicators for each youth. Completion of this recommended programming will be mandatory if the youth is to receive the committment from SGI that no civil action will be taken to demand full payment for damages. Refusing programming and risking prosecution could result in the youth being unable to obtain a driver's license and garnishing of future wages.
3. A cognitive skills component to target criminogenic risk factors. Skills programs will be customized to meet the needs of the individual, rather than a standard program applied equally to all. Modules could include skills for responsible thinking, development of higher stages of moral reasoning, healthy relationships, and community responsibility. Sessions with parents will be included where appropriate and possible. The skills component could also include educational material, possible developed in partnership with SGI and the John Howard Society, demonstrating the repercussions of auto theft and the dangers of high speed chases. As this is a diversion program for first time auto theft offenders, the program must not be so onerous as to outweigh the benefit to the youth being diverted from the formal justice system. Therefore, any cognitive skills component would need to be limited to a maximum of four weeks in duration.
4. A support component. Youth may be matched with a volunteer or paid service provider to assist them in meeting their HEAT obligations and to provide positive role modeling and companionship. These individuals will be recruited, screened, trained and supported by the HEAT coordinator, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee. Specific services offered by these individuals might include attendance at the community justice forum, supervision of community service hours and transportation to appointments. The duties will be task specific, goal oriented and time limited. The role will be similar to that of Community Resources present service providers, with targeted duties, goals and time commitments being clearly defined prior to the involvement. Support involvement could be extended beyond this point at the recommendation of the HEAT coordinator.
5.Community Justice Forum. This conference is
a face-to-face meeting between the offender, victims and community members
affected by the incident. It is facilitated by trained community members who
guide participants through a process designed to create understanding and
repair from the harm done by crime.
Participants in the conference determine what preparations are appropriate for the offender to make to the victim and the affected community. With the offender's consent, an agreement is written and signed by everyone present. The agreement must be reached and upheld. If it is not, the case returns to the referring party and may then go to the courts.
6. Referrals. The HEAT coordinator will work in partnership with other agencies and departments to develop a network of support and services for the youth participating in the HEAT program. Referrals will be made based on the particular agency's ability to address specific criminogenic risk factors.