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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Saskatchewan

GUIDELINES RELEASED FOR COMMUNITY-BASED PROGRAMS FOR ADULT OFFENDERS

Justice Minister John Nilson today released guidelines allowing for the
establishment of community-based programs for adult offenders.

"These programs play a major role in a justice system that makes
offenders more accountable and responsible for their actions," Nilson
said. "This will provide better justice for victims and communities
and give offenders the opportunity to come to terms with, and hopefully
change, their offending behaviour."

The guidelines set out a policy for community-based adult diversion and
mediation programs, where certain offenders are diverted from the
traditional criminal justice process and away from court and
incarceration. Matters which will be excluded include:

offenses involving the use, or threatened use, of a weapon;

violence against a person or child where an indictment is sought;

child sexual abuse;

sexual assault where an indictment is sought;

perjury;

driving while disqualified;

family violence; and

all Criminal Code driving offenses where alcohol was a contributing
factor.

Victim participation is encouraged but voluntary in diversion programs.
Where mediation is proposed, it will only proceed if the victim is
willing to participate.

"These policy guidelines are a step forward," Nilson said. "They
enable the department to work with communities to develop programs that
will make offenders more directly accountable for the harm they have
caused to their victims and the community."

New sentencing amendments to the federal Criminal Code, which came into
effect on Sept. 3, 1996, give provinces more latitude in finding
alternative ways of dealing with offenders by enabling provincial
attorneys general to approve and promote community-based programs for
adults. The amendments highlight finding a punishment to fit the
crime, increasing offender accountability and offering alternatives to
jail.

"The Code amendments give us more leverage in dealing with offenders
when jail may not be the most appropriate course of action," Nilson
said. "Saskatchewan has a commitment to this direction and we are
among the first jurisdictions to develop guidelines for adult diversion
programs."

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For more information, contact:

Lynne Godlien
Saskatchewan Justice
Regina
Phone: (306) 787-5657

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