Alberta’s new zero-tolerance crime policies may cause a strain for St. Albert’s courthouse.
The province announced these policy changes earlier in the month. This will bring an end to the triage practice protocol, which ruled that most criminal cases should wrap up in either 18 months or 30 months. Cases that would exceed these times had a chance to be tossed out of court.
The policy was introduced by the NDP to prioritize severe cases in the court system.
Removing these policies comes as the current government claims that it will help protect public safety and address violent crime. The Alberta government has also invested in 50 new prosecutor positions since 2017.
However, many courts in the province are already dealing with their share of double and triple-bookings. St. Albert’s courthouse is one of the exceptions, where they currently have enough resources to handle caseloads.
Some critics, including the Alberta Crown Attorney’s Association, believe that this will cause a strain on cases in St. Albert and lead to longer wait times. They claim a way to prevent stressing out the courts would be to hire more court staff.
According to a government press release announcing these changes, this zero-tolerance policy will have prosecutors seek to detain any accused who are a threat to public safety.
The release also stated that the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service will be bringing in special teams to reduce violent crime in the province’s two biggest cities.