New Program Benefits Northern Prisoners

Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 15:00



A working protocol has been created to make sure northern

prisoners don’t fall through the cracks of the justice system.


It was over a year ago that a Black Lake resident spent three cold weeks in La Ronge and Prince Albert afterRCMP refused to fly him home after a court appearance.


His family managed to scrape up enough money to get him home but a Legal Aid lawyer in La Ronge filed a charter application on his behalf.


A judge then ordered all the parties involved to come up with some type of system to make sure citizens can back home after court appearances.


Director of the northern legal aid office, Alice Robert, says a working protocol was established at the start of this year.


Under it, a worker from the probation office has been assigned to make sure anyone who isn’t sure how they’ll get back home gets help.


That involves everything from arranging flights, to booking hotel rooms and even ensuring residents have proper clothing.


So far, Robert says there has been no problems however the charter challenge itself, hasn’t been dropped:


She acknowledges the system isn’t perfect and they will continue to make adjustments.


For instance Robert wants to see the number of remand-orders to La Ronge reduced, especially when it involves residents from the far north.


Robert says on average 1 to 2 persons a week need help returning to their various home communities.