Gang Exit and Community Outreach Services
The Gang Exit and Community Outreach Services (GECOS) program has been established in partnership with Adult Centre Operations Branch (ACOB) and Integrated Community Safety Unit (ICSU) throughout the Province of Alberta. GECOS shall be accessible to all Offenders interested in exiting gangs who are either incarcerated in any Provincial Correctional Centre or residing in the community. The objective of GECOS is to arrange and provide community-based targeted interventions [in an effort] to reduce Participant contact with the justice system and to foster Participant involvement with interventions that will address their needs, such as education, employment training, financial support, treatment, housing, and prosocial supports. The provision of GECOS is intended to induce a decrease in street-gangs’ guns and gang activities and gang violence in Alberta communities. GECOS focused population is street gang-affiliated men and women of all ethnic origins between 18-35 years old, at a high risk of re-offending, and disengaged from education or legitimate employment and may experience significant difficulties in accessing community services. GECOS Participant involvement is voluntary, and Participants must exhibit willingness and motivation to address and achieve mutually established goals.
The Red Deer John Howard Society, in partnership with the Calgary John Howard Society, works with participants in the Central Alberta Region (all areas south of Edmonton, north of Calgary and east to west).
We currently accept referral from GECOS institutional caseworkers, law enforcement agencies (including community corrections) and community agencies.
Service Provided through GECOS:
- Case management
- Advocacy on clients’ behalf
- Goal planning
- Support with integration into the community
- Coaching in life skills
- Mental health, addiction, legal and basic needs support
- Access to community events and recreational activities
- A connection to culturally appropriate community resources and services (internally and externally)
- Access to harm reduction supplies
- Enhancing capacity for natural supports