See the PowerPoint Presentation

Bridges Treatment Program at
Howard House
34th Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice
October 2013
About Bridges
 Opened in 2004 in a pre-existing open custody facility
 Residential treatment facility
 8 beds treatment, 4 beds respite / emergency care
 Adolescent males sentenced under the YCJA
 Reduce re-offending & integrate youth into
communities across Alberta
 90 day minimum program commitment, length of stay
based on clinical indicators and legal status
 10 week continuous intake curriculum
 Essential link between custody and full community
outpatient treatment
Target Population
 Young male offenders serving open custody or
community based sentences
 Mental health and / or addictions issues
 Ages 14 to 19 years (can be older with IRCS)
 Typical resident
High severity convictions
History of non-compliance with community sentences
Early onset of substance abuse
Issues with emotion management
Eligibility Requirements
 Demonstrate need for treatment
 Demonstrate readiness for treatment
 Contemplative or higher on Stages of Change Model
 Issues with substance abuse and / or mental health
 Period of detoxification from substances required
 Meet community safety criteria
 Consideration of offence background
 Stable and compliant while at EYOC / CYOC
 Complete interview
 Consent to program expectations
Referral and Admission Process
 Primarily from young offender centers, probation and
court recommendations
Interview youth upon receiving completed referral
forms and collateral reports
Ensure understanding of treatment expectations and
Treatment team consults to determine admission
Referrals can be made to:
Bridges Treatment Program
Phone (780) 420 – 1497
Fax (780) 426 – 0403
Partnership for Service Delivery
 Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
 Alberta Education, Edmonton Public Schools
 Teacher, Education Assistant
 Alberta Health Services – Addiction and Mental
Addictions Counselor, Mental Health Counselor,
 Edmonton John Howard Society
 Group Home Director, Program Coordinator,
Recreation / Leisure Programmer, Case Workers,
Youth Workers
Treatment Goals
 To increase protective factors and promote resiliency
 To decrease risk factors related to addictions, mental
health, and criminal behavior
 To promote quality of life and healthy level of
functioning in major life areas
 To facilitate transition into the community
 To provide alternative choices and healthy activities
Therapeutic Milieu
 Staff must
 Provide high “unconditional positive regard” and discipline
Role model and teach pro-social skills
Ensure physical and psychological safety
Create environment for growth
 Youth must
Be held accountable for behavior
Be treated with respect and empathy
Be provided opportunities and encouraged to succeed
Feel empowered
Approach to Facilitating Change
 Goal Setting
Goals established in collaboration between youth and
treatment team
 Therapy is 24 hours per day with learning in groups
practiced in daily living
Reduction in Risk Factors
 e.g. Substance use, antisocial behaviors, exposure to
Increase in Protective Factors
 e.g. Success in school, healthy leisure interests, community
supports and transition
Collaboration with collateral sources
 e.g. Parents, custodial institutions, Young Offender Branch /
Probation, Alberta Children and Youth Services, police
Therapeutic Programming
Group & individual counseling
Addictions specific treatment
Criminal offense specific treatment
Mental health specific treatment
Education/ vocational training
Life skills training
Social skills training
Recreational and leisure programming
Relapse prevention planning
Transition planning
Therapeutic Curriculum
 Group curriculum designed for 10 week cycle with
continuous intake
 Awareness development
Drug education, high risk situations, coping mechanisms,
crime cycles
 Skill development
 Emotion management, assertiveness, setting boundaries,
problem solving, healthy communication, healthy
relationships, refusal skills, conflict resolution, leisure and
recreation, etc
 Transition to aftercare services
 Addictions and mental health services in home communities,
respite care
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
 Evidence based model for successful offender
Compatible with other treatment modalities
Behavioral Modification, Motivational Interviewing, Risk Need
Interaction of thoughts and feelings and how this
affects behavior:
 Our perceptions are constructs of our thoughts and feelings
 External events do not cause behavior – our thoughts and
feelings do. CHOICE!
 Gradual shift from external to internal controls
assignments and in groups
 Estimated annual cost of detaining a youth in a custodial
institution $100,000
Average annual cost of a youth attending The Bridges
Treatment Program at Howard House $25,000
All programming in line with current best practices
Anecdotal findings from youth, professionals, and parents
show success
Demographic and assessment data collected over past 9
years shows improvements via pre-post tests
Working to secure finances to hire an independent body
for research at the 10 year mark
Challenges & Successes
Community safety
Working with increasingly violent offences
Collaboration with police and custodial institutions,
understanding everyone`s role and that we`re all on the
same side
Zero staff assaults and minimal physical aggression
amongst youth since 2004, service provision to 3
IRCS cases
Special needs offenders (FASD diagnosis, ESL
needs, immigrant experiences)
Utilization of existing community agency resources
and consulting professionals with specializations
Challenges & Successes
Managing temptations for substances in a
community setting
Length of time in treatment
Healthy milieu encourages resident transparency and
Addressing complex issues of addictions and mental
health in a holistic manner, youth do voluntarily stay
past legal mandates, utilizing resources pre and post
Budgetary cuts across ministries
Staying ahead of curve, ongoing review of core
curriculum, adaptive programming components based
on fiscal realities
Q & A,

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