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Recommendations to the B.C. government from the prolific offender crime report

B.C. government says it will immediately implement some of the recommendations from a report on prolific offenders and random attack.

The province commissioned the report in May and hired former Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard and Amanda Butler, a criminologist specializing in mental health and addictions to help investigate the best methods to prevent the continuous property crime and random stranger attacks that have plagued several cities across the province.

The report released on Wednesday highlights 28 recommendations “addressing critical gaps in the continuum of care for people with mental health and substance use needs who are involved with the criminal justice system.”

The government will be resurrecting the prolific-offender management program that was discontinued in 2012.

“We’ve identified three specific recommendations that we want to start on right away: a return of the prolific offenders management pilots that were cut by the previous government (Recommendation 21); a dedicated provincial committee structure to coordinate service planning for people with complex health needs who come into conflict with the law (Recommendation 13); and the B.C. First Nations Justice Counsel’s proposed pilot program based at the Prince George Indigenous Justice Centre to address recidivism among First Nations people (Recommendation 18),” Farnworth said.

Bringing back the Prolific Offender Management approach, a pilot program that ran from 2008 to 2012. Selecting a group of repeat offenders and creating a plan for how to respond to their “unique needs” through a combination of support services and “enforcement activities” are some of the components of this. A team made up of members from law enforcement and other agencies would manage cases, according to the article.

Expanding the use of “therapeutic bail” orders for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, which would let them receive treatment as an alternative to going to jail.

The report advised the Provincial Government to maintain funding for community service providers’ and civilian-led (non-police) mental health crisis response teams (e.g., Peer Assisted Care Teams).

maintaining financing for groups that can respond to mental health crises under civilian leadership rather than police to combat social unrest. Such a plan has been promoted by the mayor of Vancouver, Kennedy Stewart, and is currently being tested in Victoria and New Westminster.

LePard and Butler didn’t agree to mandatory treatment for repeat offenders. For those with mental health and addiction disorders who pose a high risk of harm to others and “need the safety of a secure setting,” they advised the government to establish “low secure units.”

These facilities, which have been used to retain high-risk people involuntarily in the UK, would be for those who require extensive rehabilitation but do not fulfil the requirements for psychiatric hospitalisation under the Mental Health Act.

“The Low Secure Units would be facilities that would actually be designed with the proper security, therapeutic design and staffing detail that you need for people who are presenting with extreme violent behaviour – the kinds of things we have unfortunately seen in our communities, including machete attacks and really violent instances,” Butler said, adding this could be implemented under the province’s Mental Health Act without action from the federal government.

“I want to be really clear that that is very different from the conversation around compulsory treatment for people who are presenting with life-threatening substance use that does not render them a risk to other people

“There would be a compulsory treatment regiment potentially depending on what people are presenting with … the Low Secure Units would be for people to be mandated.”

The full document can be seen here. The B.C. government will be releasing the rest of the report by the end of the month.

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Jordan
Jordan
Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise
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