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I’m recently back on the bandwagon and in the NA program. Granted it’s only been a few weeks but I’m doing it and that’s what counts most. Basically what I’m trying to say is no matter what ppl may say behind your back, no matter how many peers doubt your success, no matter how many obstacles may challenge your persistence – don’t back down!

I’ve been falling off and getting back on this bandwagon for as long as I can remember but I know as long as I keep at it something is bound to give. Look at it this way – if you keep trying, something might ‘click’ & ‘stick’. If you stop trying and persistence doesn’t persist then where are you? – in the same dead end place you were before you even tried – nowhere!

I could go on rambling about the many reasons that not giving up is what counts but I’m afraid this would turn into a book. So I’ll close on this note: ‘My worst day clean is always better than my best day using.'

As always we encourage you to like, share and tell us your thoughts and learnings 

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Did you know a mother is the most important person in a girl's life?
Well what happens when a girl's mom isn’t the mom she's supposed to be?
What happens when a girl's mom is dead inside?
Leaving the girl to always worry and wonder how much longer her mom will last before she dies on the outside too?
I have the answer to these questions.
It hurts.
Your heart feels like it is being torn to shreds every time you think about it.
It's painful.
The pain's so excruciating that sometimes you wonder how you're still surviving. Sometimes you just want to jump out of your own skin, and run as far away as you possibly can.
It's sad.
Sometimes you cry. And sometimes you can't, because you've already spent all your tears on it.
Sometimes you feel so alone.
Sometimes you just want your mom to tell you everything will be ok...
Sometimes you wish you would wake up and it would all be a bad dream.
But you won't. And it isn't.
When it's hard to get out of bed, I still have to. When it's hard to go to work, I still have to.
When it's hard to live for myself, I find it in me to do it anyways. Because I have sisters. And they need me right now.
So I live on. Life goes on. And I make the best of it.
When my Mom falls deeper into addiction, I work harder on recovery.
Because that's all I can do.
Is survive and stay strong

As always we encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and learnings!

31 reasons why I am grateful to be clean
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1. I can love myself again
2. I can be there for my sisters
3. I’m healthy
4. I have a choice about the things I do
5. I have my own place with no roommates
6. I have money in the bank
7. I have emotions again
8. I can take custody of my sister when the time is right
9. I’m not dying
10. I am capable of respecting myself now
11. I can buy nice things
12. No hospital trips
13. No trips to the holding cell
14. I have a clean house
15. I can follow through with my plans and my goals
16. I quit smoking
17. My family doesn’t have to watch me destroy myself anymore
18. I can keep my promises
19. I have a decent job
20. I have my physical appearance back
21. I believe in myself again
22. I take proper care of my Kitty
23. I have nice teeth
24. I have nice clothes and tons of shoes!
25. Ppl aren't stealing from me every time I turn my back
26. I can say to myself "I did it!!!"
27. I can connect with other humans again
28. I can sleep every night
29. I pay my own rent and bills
30. I can spend Christmas with my family
31. I can do anything in the world now that I am clean

As always we encourage you to like, share and tell us your thoughts and learnings

Dear Mother,
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Dear Mother,

Thank you for never being anything but on my side and doing what was best for me, even when I didn’t believe that you weren’t doing it to spite me. I’ve come to see that you were always right. I’m sorry for my cruelty and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Thank you for letting me learn things the hard way, but also thank you for always knowing when I needed you most and never turning your back on me in those times. There’s nothing more that you could have done to try and save me and I’m so grateful that you’re understanding that I’m not ready to get better. I love you mom, forever I’m in your debt.

-Daughter of yours, 2018

As always we encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and learnings! 

A Poem I Wrote in Treatment
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There was nothing good about you
You tore me apart
You hypnotized me
You were my answer to all my faults

I'll never forget what you did to me
The pain and grief you caused
I can't believe how blinded I was
To see right past all of your flaws

At first you were a miracle
I was fooled by your disguise
You murdered my friends, you were murdering me
And I still stood by your side

If something was wrong,
You were there for me
No matter where I was,
Who I was with
What I was doing
What I had done...
You were there...

No matter how good I felt,
Or how bad I felt
You never left my side...

Until I said goodbye.

I never expected what you did to me
When I chose to say goodbye...

You left me

You left me feeling DEAD inside

You did this to me
We were supposed to be friends
You stabbed me in the back

Well friend, I promise you one thing only.

I chose life, not METH

As always we encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and learnings

My Choice
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I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. The reason that I am writing this is because I did something today that I never thought I would do in a million years. I ran into an associate of mine that I knew for quite a while. He had asked me if I wanted to go smoke a joint with him. Now, I have been clean and sober for a period of 22 days thus far. This period of sobriety was all my choice, and my choice to boot. The next thing I knew I was walking to the C-train with him. I can’t as much say what got me thinking this, but I started thinking about the consequences of me smoking a joint. Then I started thinking about what I’m really going to get out of it. The first thing I thought about was my girlfriend and how she would react to me being high. I knew right away that she would be pissed off. The thing that really gets me is that 22 days ago I wouldn’t have cared if she was mad or not, but for some reason this was a big concern of mine. I then really started thinking about what it would be like to be stoned, and I couldn’t think of anything positive about it. I realized that I don’t need drugs to feel good. I actually feel worse when I’m high because I know that I would feel alright with it while I was high, but when I come down, I know that I’ll start feeling guilty, ashamed, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to see my girlfriend while I’m high because she’ll know right way and I know that she’ll be choked. I then started thinking about what I’ll get out of it. Then I came up with the end result that nothing good would come out of it. It was then that my associate had said to me, I guess it depends on how much you want to smoke a joint. To tell you the truth I don’t really know what the conversation was that we were having that made him say those words but those nine words struck something in my head that made me realize that I really don’t want to risk all that I have worked for over the past 22 days for one simple joint. I feel real good about that because I have finally realized that drugs and alcohol don’t have the hold on me they once had. I’m finally starting to get a grasp of my life and it feels really good. I know now more than I have ever know, I do have the power to make choices. I also feel real good because I can honestly say that I made the right choice for the right reason. I don’t want any part of my life that I had with drugs and alcohol. I mean specifically being afraid that people are watching you, that people that love and care about you don’t exist, and with my sobriety comes love and respect from my girlfriend, and if that’s the only thing that I get out of this sobriety then that’s good enough because I wouldn’t trade that for a million dollars, or for anything else.

- Anonymous 

As always, we encourage you to like and share your thoughts and learnings!

Mental Recovery
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Mental Recovery

Although I’m stuck in what would feel like jail
I am refreshed and happy but really scared
I don’t know what’s going to happen out there
In a world that is not fair
I know I have to fight my way to the top without anything like a crutch
I know when I finally get there though
Ill be happy that I got help from the people that I know
How important it is to be straight and clean,
To succeed inner happiness that I’m finally getting in me

Hey, my name is Mike, and I would like to tell you something important to me. I have a drug problem that was controlling my life. I was powerless. I took drugs to try to kill my problems and all it did was make them worse. I needed help, so I went to treatment. This is the best thing I did. The poem up top is how I felt when I was there. I’m doing great now and I highly recommend going to treatment. So, if you have a drug or alcohol problem, please get help, because it will be the best things that you can do for you and your loved ones!

-          Smiling Brighter, 1995

As always, we encourage you to like and share your thoughts and learnings!

Leap of Faith
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Have you ever had to face your phobia? Well my phobia has lived with me for the past 13 years. It’s there when I wake up in the morning, it’s there when I go to sleep at night and everywhere in between. Can you guess what it is? It’s addiction and it’s the scariest thing I have ever encountered. Imagine being suspended off the highest building you could possibly think of with no safety nets, no support, nothing. Just empty land around you and if you were to scream no one would possibly be able to hear you. That’s just it, the only way to overcome addiction is within yourself and I have realized that now, that’s why I am choosing to take the leap of faith, the first step into this building, and check myself into detox. It’s been frightening, but there is nothing more frightening than living in a constant battle between bad and evil. There is no good, the only light or glimpse of hope is me. And with my potential I am brighter than any darkness or obstacle that will ever come in my way. Today is the last day I will live in darkness, for tomorrow will be light.

-          January 2018


As always, we encourage you to comment and share your thoughts and learnings!

Keep Progressing
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Keep Progressing because things are only going to get better from here on out...

I have learned that with time and effort you can change your whole world around if you believe that you can. Even when you don't think you can do it, you'll prove yourself wrong because it happened to me and I couldn't thank myself and others enough for it. My thinking has changed from negative and never believing in myself, to having belief and always knowing that I can do it if I put my mind to the task. If I didn't do that, I would of went no where fast. I've made a lot of changes and still have more to come. I found myself a house, now I am progressing towards a bigger house with a more pet-friendly vibe because I love my dogs. I am struggling with finding ways to make extra cash and saving up because the world we live in today is very expensive. I have overcome my negative thoughts, I mean, some say they are still in the distant fog but I always push through to become a better me. I am learning that it takes time and patience and a lot of perseverance. If there is anything that I can help someone with, I will do the best that I can and I will not leave their side until its accomplished because I am a caring human being and I don't want to see people go through what I went through. It's not fun and it's scary. My perspective to get off the streets: it takes determination and a lot of time and energy but if you believe you deserve it, you will make it come true and nobody can do that but you, so remember that. 

- Brian S. 2018



When you look at the world and they say no
Remember, there is always someone saying yes
When you reach for the door and it stays closed
Remember, there is one more being opened
When you look at the street and its all black and white
Remember, the tear you cried was blue
When you look at the child with no life inside
Remember, there is, just give him a chance
When you look at the wind, and it seems lost
Remember, in time once, so were you
When you look at the trees, and they want answers
Remember, there is always someone who will

- Anonymous, 1990


Looking at Yourself
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One day you will wake up and look in the mirror and smile; because you like what you see. Not necessarily what you look like, but who you are. If you can look in the mirror and love the person who looks back at you, you have made it. It's that person you have to look at each day, the person you have to please, accept how they feel and why they feel it. But, if for some strange reason, you don't like what you see, just think about all the good you've done as well as the bad. For that is who you are and what your past and your future is all about, what you're all about. And thats what life is all about, good and evil. The man is the mirror can tell you that. 

- Anonymous, 1990 

For You, By You
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This past April at our, Engaging Youth, Engaging Community event (, we heard about parents, professionals, volunteers and community members, value and belief in autonomy, ownership and self-accountability when raising and supporting young people. After the weekend, we explored our archives of over thirty years of written words and found additional perspectives from the young people themselves.  Have you heard of Self-Determination Theory? 

We were on to something that weekend... self-determination is not only important for youth but for all human beings. All of July, we will be exploring the topic: For You, By You, by sharing living knowledge about determination, empowerment and taking action. Tell us why self-care and self-determination is important to you and all of us. How do YOU think service providers/care givers - teachers, parents, youth workers, social workers and health care professionals - can create an environment in which they support self-advocacy and independent thinking in young people? 

This month we hope to create space to share and understand the importance of giving CHOICE and taking care of YOU. 

"The person I care most about is me because I owe it to myself" 
- A Participant

As always we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

Thank you for learning along side us!

Our Justice System: Discussed
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Please watch the following video: 

Naomi Nichols: Young People’s Knowledge

If we want young people to re-enter communities and not re-engage in criminal activity, it is imperative that the police advising youth and making decisions about their futures have a clear sense of how the world works from the standpoints of the young people they are serving. Too often, decisions are made by people who fail to grasp the cumulative impacts of racism, poverty, food and housing insecurity, school failure and pervasive police presence in the lives of youth.

To really understand the links between a young person’s involvement in the justice system and his or her experiences of housing and homelessness, one needs to understand what it’s like to grow up in neighbourhoods that are shaped by housing insecurity, poverty, criminality, and pervasive negative interactions with the police – partly because these are the contextual factors, shaping the likelihood that a young person will come into conflict with the law in the first place, but also because these are the very life circumstances awaiting a young person during re-entry.

Service providers and decision makers also need to understand how the various systems impacting youth wellbeing interconnect. Nowhere is this more evident than for youth in conflict with the law.

What are we do to change this reality?

Moving Forward

we would be well-served by treating young people as knowledgeable experts of their own lives and heeding what they have to tell us. They know the system is broken, and they can point to the places where institutional interventions do more harm than good.

From here, we must do the hard work of creating, testing and continually re-adjusting our interventions, such as the systematic processes of exclusion and neglect (e.g., the racism, gender-based violence, homo/transphobia, classism, colonialism), which create and sustain the instabilities at the root of criminal offending, are addressed.

Pragmatically, this looks like the following:

·      Monitoring the race, class and gender based outcomes of particular systemic interventions to reveal and address disproportionalities

·      Engaging in participatory knowledge-to-action cycles (or research-driven feedback loops) with youth to design and evaluate interventions, which reflect the actual conditions of their lives

·      Creating and funding equality and root-cause oriented government programs, which give legs to policy ang legislation, which in their present state fail to create positive changes in young people’s lives.


Over the last several weeks, The Listening Project has worked with Naomi Nichols to connect Naomi’s research with the videos that we created for a video mini-series called: Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible? In doing this, we demonstrated the vast similarities in the experience that young people are having across Canada. Furthermore, we unpacked Our Justice System to answer the question: What can we do to change this reality? Thank you so much to Naomi for sharing your experiences working alongside young people and being The Listening Projects FIRST guest!


As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

If you or anyone you know would like to share their story and experience, please contact us at

Our Justice System: Discussed
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Please watch the following video: 

Naomi Nichols: Intersectoral Dimensions

For example, a lack of appropriate housing and supervision for youth leaving custody or detention increases the likelihood they will re-enter the community via a homeless shelter or the streets.

Additionally, all of the inter-institutional challenges associated with re-entry are connected to the gendering and racializing experiences youth have had with other institutional authorities prior to incarceration, and that they will continue to have – in one way or another – when discharged back into their communities – particularly communities that are characterized by an antagonist relationship with the police. 

These cultural and inter-personal barriers to re-entry are magnified by persistent inter-organizational and cross-sectoral gaps, which make it difficult to coordinate resources and services for youth in community. For example, youth who grow up in Toronto Community Housing and/or one of Toronto’s neighbourhood improvement areas see themselves and their neighbourhoods as unfairly stigmatized. Youth report particularly intense and fraught relations with the police:

“the police deal with you according to what they believe that you are. It’s the same in metro housing – in any priority neighbourhood. Its how they’ve [the police] grown up to see you. They [the police] don’t deal with you as a person … they come to us and judge us [based] on the neighbourhood’s history, not who you are.”

We asked young people in Canada’s largest youth jail how often they had interactions with the police outside, the general response was something like, “not too much – maybe a couple of times a day.”

Toronto Police Services and Toronto Community Housing have a contract that grants Agent of the Landlord status for all Toronto Community Housing properties, as well as a range of other information sharing agreements (Nichols & Braimoh, 2016). Where youth live in families that cant afford market rents and must rely on Toronto Community Housing, they are subject to more non-crime related stops than people who live in other environments. Interactions with the police do not just occur on the streets, but also in their homes.

For those families who are evicted from social housing environments or who decide to leave voluntarily, the increased financial burden of market housing can reduce their choices or freedoms in other areas – some parents pick up more shifts at work, limiting the time they are able to spend in the home; other families experience food insecurity; while others turn to the streets to generate income.

Due to elevated crime and call for service rates in some neighbourhoods, there is also extensive police activity in the neighbourhood more generally – that is, not simply on social housing properties. Police are actively present in the neighbourhood gathering intelligence and doing what they describe as “community outreach.” They are also involved in high schools as School Resource Officers and in the data gathering activities, associated with initiatives like Toronto’s Anti-violence Prevention Strategy or TAVIS.

Of the 48 young people I interview in one of Toronto’s North-West neighbourhoods, all but a couple described unwanted interactions with the police. A few of the encounters they talked about took place in school; most took place in the neighbourhood. All of the 15 youth we interviewed in a youth justice facility reported daily or weekly encounters with the police in their neighbourhoods.

Most young people’s first encounters with the police are non-crime related. When I say that a stop is “non-crime related,” I mean that the police stopped them – and often searched them – asked for ID and recorded the information into their data bases through the production of contact cards, but the young people were not actually breaking any laws at the time of the encounter. Many youths we have spoken with will go on to describe subsequent interactions that lead to involvement with the youth justice system and then later repeated “administration of justice offences” like a break of probation. Other simply describe repeated non-crime related interactions throughout their adolescents.

These encounters with the police are fraught with tension for the youth. Young men, in particular, describe being treated like “little bitches” by the police. On the other hand, these same youth, describe the police as “the boydom,” in comparison to their own groups of friends and associates, who they call “the mandom.” Young men I worked with as co-researchers talked about all the effort they out into being “fierce” and level-headed on the streets – where one must deal with the politics of the ‘hood and continuous encounters with the police.’ This work, they explain is stressful and part of the reason why they are quick to snap – on each other, on teachers, on parents, and any adult in a position of authority.


Please check back with us next week as we continue to unpack Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible?

As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

Our Justice System: Discussed
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Please watch the following video: 

Naomi Nichols: The Failed Promise of Re-Integration (cont.) & Intersectoral Dimensions

Darren, a youth advocate, explains how he gets “calls from everywhere” for him to help youth navigate a highly fragmented system of supports during re-entry:

I get a call from the courts, from the Crown attorney, from the probation officer and sometimes, believe it or not, police officers who’ve seen my card. And community leaders, community social workers, school social workers, principals, vice principals, teachers, etc. I get calls from all of these places and they say, “We have a youth who we think might benefit from your mentorship, doing what you do. Right now, the youth is in incarceration and needs you to come out,” or “right now we’re trying to have a bail for a youth. He has nowhere to go, so we think you might be able to help him navigate the shelter system because he can’t go home.”

Ideally, the re-integration process would be coordinated, targeted, and planned. Unfortunately, it is just as likely that a youth will go to court one day and simply not return to custody (field not, RM school staff). Darren’s description of his work suggests an ad-hoc system where the degree to which a young person experiences a sustained transition from custody may depend on whether or not the youth is able to connect to someone like him.

Further, while many re-entry programs focus on addressing problems within the individual – e.g., anger management or drug and alcohol rehabilitation – there remains insufficient attention paid to the structural issues young people will face during re-entry. Youth continue to be discharged into homeless shelters or into communities that have been negatively impacted by poverty, racism, and ongoing police surveillance. And they continue to be discharged without any clear sense of how they will navigate re-entry.

Almost every young man we spoke with at an Ontario youth justice facility said that when he “hit roads,” he would stay out of trouble, by making better choices. Even when probed to talk about their re-entry plans, none of the youth could speak to these documents or seemed to know that they exist. It blows my mind that we prepare young men and women for community re-entry, by suggesting they should make better decisions.

The mantra – I will make better choices – is what young people have learned to say to judges. This is what they have learned to say to you and their probation officers. But it is an empty promise for youth who will transition back into neighbourhoods shaped equally by criminality and criminalizing institutional processes.

What choices are actually available to young people who are met by their “bosses” upon re-entry, puffed up for their great work and then given a new mission or bunch of drugs to move. Youth who fail to comply with these requests are threatened with violence – towards themselves and their families. Going to the police only represents further risk to their safety.

Youth who transition back into acute poverty, family conflict, and/or housing instability or homelessness similarly have very few actual choices available to them. The desire to “make better choices” is quickly replaced by a need to take care of one’s most basic requirements for food, shelter, and safety.

Upon release from custody, youth are returned to these same neighbourhoods. Some youth return to neighbourhoods with endless opportunities for street work, few opportunities to enter the official labour market, and considerable police presence – on the streets and in their homes. These interactions with the police – and their criminalizing impacts – are the ordinary backdrop to some people’s childhoods. Youth talk about how they learn to recognize under-cover officers at a distance and find new routes in and through their neighbourhoods. The feeling that one will be treated like a criminal no matter what one does influences the decisions one makes when faced with opportunities to make little money on the street.


Please check back with us next week as we continue to unpack Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible?

As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

Our Justice System: Discussed
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Please watch the following video: 

Naomi Nichols: The Failed Promise of Re-integration

Planning for re-integration is meant to start when a youth enters custody, is assigned a Youth Services Officer or (YSO), and begins to engage in rehabilitative services, including case management, pursuit of education, and participation in incentive structures and behaviour modification programs. The re-integration process ends in community, where ideally the youth is assigned a probation officer, and seamlessly transitions into community programming, including education and training.

But the youth in custody or detention we interviewed in Canada’s largest youth jail had no sense of what re-entry would look like for them.

When youth transition out of custody, youth workers and advocates discover that wait lists and narrow eligibility requirements (e.g., education minimums for participation in job-readiness programs) make it difficult to engage youth in suitable programming in community environments. Some youth are unable to return home, and as such, simultaneously find themselves navigating the province’s social assistance system and social housing resources – as well as any number of community sector organizations – as part of their re-entry process. The public and community sector organizations that a youth may be required to navigate are not organized to provide a cohesive system of care for youth.


Please check back with us next week as we continue to unpack Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible?

As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

Our Justice System: Discussed
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During the month of April, we paid attention to Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible? By taking thirteen young people’s realities over the last thirty years, collecting and joining them to create a video mini-series. All of the statements used in each video are real accounts of how young people have experienced the Canadian Criminal Justice System. For the month of June, we are revisiting this mini-series. The Listening Project is excited to welcome a guest researcher, Naomi Nichols, McGill University. Naomi is a friend of The Listening Project who has worked closely with young people in Ontario and Quebec. Over the next several weeks, you will see Naomi’s research connected with the videos we created for the series to demonstrate the vast similarities in experience that young people are having across Canada. In doing this, we hope to unpack Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible? and answer the question: what can we do to change this reality?  


To begin, we are sharing Naomi Nichols introduction and her policy background. As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings:


Recently, I had the tremendous good fortune to hear a young woman, who had been in conflict with the law, struggled with addictions, and experienced homelessness during adolescence, speak about her experiences as a research assistant on a project about services for homeless youth in her city. As a consequence of listening to other young people share their experiences with the youth criminal justice and the street-involved youth serving systems – and seeing the lines of convergence across their stories – she came to the astute conclusion that there was a systemic basis to their shared experiences. It wasn’t coincidental that their paths through labyrinthine youth “care” systems took similar turns (Charlotte Smith, Coming Up Together, Ottawa Canada, Key Note Panel, 2018)


This was the same feeling I had as I engaged with The Doorway’s The Listening Project audio and text-based stories about young people’s experiences with the youth criminal justice system. It is not coincidental that young people in Alberta describe relations with the police and the youth criminal justice system that echo those described by youth in Ontario. In part, this is a function of the Youth Criminal Justice Act being Canadian legislation. But the similarities are a result of more than a shared legislative backdrop: the provision of correctional programs and services for youth is a provincial and federal responsibility. So, you’d imagine there may be striking differences in experiences across two provincial contexts.


But what stands out are the similarities - namely that despite the mandate to rehabilitate and re-integrate youth who have offended, the youth criminal justice system designs and delivers public safety interventions, which undermine young people’s safe and stable integration into housing, community, educational and labour market opportunities. The sheer number of court-dates and conditions (e.g., being unable to learn at the same institution as a co-accused) make continuous education and/or labour market participation nearly impossible. Furthermore, insufficient coordination of housing and socio-economic supports upon re-entry increases the likelihood that a young person – particularly those re-entering poverty – will re-offend.


For the last 10 years, I’ve been doing research – anchored in the experiences and insights of young people and the institutional and social contexts shaping young people’s experiences of exclusion in their neighbourhoods, in our public institutions, and community-level organizations. The research has similar objectives to The Doorway’s The Listening Project – it seeks to amplify young people’s knowledge of the systematic and structural conditions of exclusion and neglect, inclusion and opportunity, which give shape to their lives. But I also seek to add to what we understand about the precise policy and practice mechanisms that shape the outcomes young people describe.


In this blog post – in responses to the poignant stories shared by young people in The Listening Project and the young people’s I’ve interviewed over the years in Ontario and Quebec – I highlight a few (of many) points of rupture in young people’s re-entry from detention or incarceration.


Policy Background:

The introduction of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003 was meant to address high rates of youth incarceration by:

·      Providing alternative, community-based options in lieu of incarceration,

·      Limiting the use of detention, prior to sentencing (i.e., pre-trial detentions), and

·      Improving re-integration and rehabilitation efforts in order to limit repeat offences.


The re-integration process is one of several reforms meant to improve public safety, while also reducing youth incarceration rates. The focus on community re-entry is presented as a developmentally appropriate and rehabilitative response to youth justice issues.


But key to our understanding of the efficacy of any of these reforms is the inter-dependence between the youth justice sector and the various other institutional settings impacting the lives of children, youth and families.


Please check back with us next week as we continue to unpack Our Justice System: The Story of the Impossible?

As always, we encourage you to share, comment and tell us your thoughts and learnings!

The Street Situation
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The Street Situation

Many teens and adults live on the streets. I am also one who has had an experience being on the streets; it is not a fun situation to be in. Many people living on the streets have to worry about where they are going to sleep and where their next meal is going to come from. For some street people, they turn to drugs and alcohol as a way out! Some can’t handle or survive on the streets and commit suicide or die a slow death. Before I was living on the streets, I used to ignore the street people, now I know how it feels to be ignored. There is nothing but poverty, hopelessness, rejection, anger, hate, and no love. If you could look into the hearts of these special people, your heart would be broken. Where hopelessness grips your heart and squeezes the life out of you. Where depression literally controls your mind, there is that thought of suicide, which after a while gets deep down into your mind and then suicide becomes death. These street people need love, think about it.            

This was a story about some street life situations... 

Mental Awaken
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Mental Awaken!

There’s a place so deep that the light can’t reach and all you can do is pray. Hope you can sleep without anything to eat and hope to wake up not there. The ground starts to shake, you become awake and there’s the door right there! I too lived in this hole and I thought there was no hope. Then I too woke up and looked for the door. Once it was there, I became scared not knowing if anyone would care. I went through the door only to find that there are people that care. They helped to restore my hope in life and taught me how to talk to the people that I was afraid of. Thanks to this I have goals and I can fulfill dreams.

- Anonymous



Our Justice System: Story of the Impossible?: Reading List
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Tylers Troubled Life:

School to Pipeline:

Canada’s criminal Justice System Report Card – Alberta Rating:

Connecting Listening Projects: Bringing your attention back to Our Son’s Story from our Overdose Awareness Project:

The Listening Project: The Word Correction is in its Name:

The Listening Project: Not Anymore, Never Again:

The Listening Project: Just a Number in the Judicial System:

The Listening Project: Downward Spiral: