CALGARY — The Alberta government is launching a pilot program that is a one-stop support centre for minor criminals deemed likely to reoffend.
The goal is to help convicts make a transition to law-abiding lives.
The Integrated Justice Service Project will focus on individuals sentenced to community supervision, but identified by their probation officers as a high risk to get into trouble again.
The three-year program will offer health, social and community services at the same location as probation officers.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford told reporters the goal is to reduce the rate of repeat crime and many offenders don’t get enough hands-on contact from the probation system.
“What we’re trying to do is to set this person up for success within the probation system so when that person is connecting to a probation officer he isn’t saying: ‘OK, these are the five agencies you need to go to.’ We want to have everybody working together in the same place so they’re able to say: ‘here’s some direction,”’ she said.
“We want to make sure we’re not leaving people really hanging out to dry. We can do much better than we have through the conventional probation system.”
The program will be available only in Calgary for now.
It is expected 150 to 200 individuals currently under supervision will meet the criteria.
“Their lives are difficult. It’s a big challenge for them to deal with the system and we need to make the system more user friendly,” added Alberta Justice Minister Verlyn Olson.
The program will work with individuals from all age groups and could be expanded in the future to deal with more serious offenders in the future, said Redford.