Last October fencing was installed around Parsons House in preparation for the demolition of the former police station next door to make way for the new Red Deer Justice Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)

More people being remanded in Alberta

Red Deer city councillor says fear has become ingrained

A new report shows that Alberta has the highest rate of adults remanded in custody as courts look to minimize the risk of danger to the public.

The report by the Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics said more adults are being put into remand while they wait for their trial or to serve their sentence, due to a cultural shift in the justice system to minimize the risks, which includes re-offending.

At 70 per cent, Alberta had the highest rate of remanded adults compared to those serving sentences. Ontario and Manitoba each had rates of 69 per cent, followed by 65 per cent each in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, 62 per cent in Yukon, 58 per cent in the Northwest Territories and 55 per cent in Nunavut.

Many of the people in custody for criminal cases being heard at Red Deer provincial court are remanded at the Red Deer Remand Centre, a 146-bed correctional facility for both males and females, where the average daily population between April 1, 2018, to Jan. 31, 2019, was 116 inmates.

City Coun. Buck Buchanan said fear has become ingrained in society, whether it’s in rural areas, where some people think they must take it upon themselves to deal with crime, or people who are isolating themselves in urban communities.

“Do I think where we are in a dangerous place? No. Do I think at different times you should be aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing? Absolutely,” said Buchanan, who is also the owner of the security company X-Cops Inc.

He said Canadians everywhere are experiencing the property crime epidemic, and a lot of that has to do with addiction and folks trying to sustain their habits.

Related:

Caught: Red Deer Remand inmate who escaped from jail two weeks ago

Data suggests violence rising in Winnipeg remand jail; union says meth a factor

New remand director awaits easing of local jail numbers

To address a backlog of local criminal cases, the $97-million Red Deer Justice Centre was added to the provincial budget by the former NDP government.

Demolition of the old downtown police station has been underway to make room for the centre, which will have 12 courtrooms with the capacity to increase to 16 in the future. The centre will replace the existing court house that has seven courtrooms.

A fall ground breaking for the new centre has been anticipated and it will take about four years for the facility to open.

Buchanan said he expects the centre will be on United Conservative Party’s to-do list.

“It’s part of the conservative government’s mantra. As an ex-policeman, I don’t disagree with that,” Buchanan said.

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