Jail time for individuals dealing with mental health or addiction crisis is not the answer, said Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson.

Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Police Service are partnering to form the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) announced yesterday. Pairing a mental health clinician with a police officer, PACT’s aim is to keep people out of the judicial system when unnecessary.

“We can’t arrest our way out of or into safe communities,” said Justice Minister Alison Redford.

Over 80 per cent of court cases involve individuals dealing with addiction or underlying mental health issues, said Redford. PACT will distinguish between those needing to be incarcerated and those requiring help.

Police officers witness on the street level that many problems are not best dealt with through the justice system, Hanson said. He added PACT will save lives, keep families whole and keep people out of the courts who do not need to be there.