Province unveils $470-million prevention plan
Marc Bence/for metro edmonton
The Alberta government is backing a three-year, $470-million plan to hire more police officers while giving municipalities better powers to fight crime.
The plan also calls for denying bail for repeat offenders, along with seizing money and property gained from criminal activity.
Six new crown prosecutors will be hired in order to streamline the criminal justice process and more rehabilitation beds will be made available for those trying to kick drug and alcohol addictions.
The new plan will target repeat offenders by enhancing community supervision of offenders, while making a risk assessment process to ensure they receive more focused treatments and prosecution.
"A catch-and-release system works for fish, but it certainly does not deter crime," Premier Ed Stelmach said of the crime-fighting initiative yesterday.
"Albertans must have faith — faith in knowing their justice system is working for them. We’ll overhaul the bail process, streamline criminal justice and better co-ordinate provincial courts."
The plan was unveiled yesterday in response to a government task force report that says alcohol and drugs were triggers in most of the criminal activity in the province.
The Stelmach government accepted 29 of 31 committee recommendations in a report that says Albertans are not happy with the current justice system.
"With this new strategy, we will get tougher on the causes of crime," said Justice Minister Ron Stevens.
"The key to success in this strategy is that it balances enforcement with prevention and treatment."
Edmonton Deputy Police Chief David Korol says 150 officers will be hired in 2008, but with new support from the provincial government, the number could grow.
"With additional tools and additional resources from this, we will be able to make an impact on crime in the city," said Korol.