The Non-Residential Attendance Centre (NRAC) is a sentencing option defined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act that is available through direct sentencing by the Youth Court or by means of referral by a probation officer through a general counselling condition of a probation order. This program is part of a plan implemented by the Youth Justice Services division of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to decrease reliance on custody sentences and provide effective community-based programming for medium to high risk youth. The goal of this program is to reduce offending behaviour by addressing specific, identified risks amongst individual youth by means of cognitive based programming targeting those criminogenic need areas.
The program operates throughout the year on a continuous intake basis and youth are enrolled immediately following referral. Programming is group based, co-ed with individual one-to-one sessions incorporated into the program structure.
Two separate sites can operate concurrently: one is permanently located in the City of Sarnia and the other is mobile and can service youth in rural communities throughout Lambton County. To date, the rural program has operated in Petrolia, Wyoming, Forest, Corunna, Watford, Mooretown, Thedford, and Alvinston as well as the Aamjiwnaang (Sarnia) and Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) First Nations.
The program goals are to reduce re-offending risk levels; to provide effective programming centering on prevention and rehabilitation; to provide highly structured and supervised programming addressing individual needs of youth, and; to encourage positive interaction with program staff, peers and family members.
The program is comprised of numerous components and skill development centres, including: anger management; bullying and harassment; attitudes and behaviours; life styles and life skills; nutrition; cognitive skills and pro-social development; values; relationships and peers; family and relationship violence; employment skills, and; leisure skill development.
In addition to interacting with youth, the program maintains regular and ongoing sessions with parents/guardians to assess a youth’s progress and evaluate goals.