This paper makes a case for using the institution as an extension of community resources rather than as a place for the exclusion of young offenders. This argument is built on 2 case studies that highlight the importance of treating young offenders in their own community and the need for permeable boundaries between institutions for young offenders and their communities. It is shown that processing youths as young offenders without helping them to maintain a sense of belonging to the community threatens their identity. Collaboration between institutions and communities to address the root causes of problems presented by at-risk youths and their families is as important for serious offenders as for their less delinquent peers. While the Youth Criminal Justice Act does not preclude movement in this direction, it is ambiguous about the development of community alternatives for serious offenders.