The province is fulfilling its commitment to openness and transparency by reporting online to Manitobans on key quarterly and annual metrics from its Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Manitobans want to have confidence that their criminal justice system is working efficiently and effectively to protect the safety of their families and communities,” said Cullen. “That is why we are reporting back to Manitobans online about the key measures in our criminal justice system modernization strategy, which is designed to create safe communities and ensure timely access to justice for all Manitobans.”
Manitoba’s criminal justice system modernization strategy was announced in March 2018. The strategy was designed to reduce court backlogs to ensure that Manitoba meets the timelines established by the Supreme Court of Canada in its R vs. Jordan ruling. Meeting these timelines is critical to ensuring that individuals accused of serious, violent crimes never walk away due to a successful delay motion, the minister noted.
Since 2016, Manitoba has seen the average annual time to disposition in provincial court drop by 11 per cent, from 180 days in 2016-17 to 160 days in 2018-19. Average annual time to disposition in the Court of Queen’s Bench has dropped by 19 per cent, from 988 days in 2016-17 to 803 days in 2018-19.
The drop in time to disposition has resulted in a substantial reduction in delay motions, the minister noted. Several initiatives have supported this improvement including the intensive case assessment unit created within Manitoba Prosecution Service, the expansion of pre-charge review and a revision to the province’s direct indictment policy.
Over the last year, approximately 5,000 matters have been diverted to restorative justice or other measures. These alternative approaches are effective in appropriate cases because they tailor the response to the individual and the crime. They require the offender to take responsibility for the offence and can result in the accused person making amends with the victim or the community and being required to participate in programming to address root causes associated with their crime. As a result of these initiatives, Manitoba has seen a reduction in its provincial custody counts, the minister noted.
The impact of the province’s responsible reintegration initiative on adult recidivism have yet to be fully assessed, the minister added, but persistently high crime and youth recidivism rates will be addressed through upcoming strategies to improve provincial policing and youth corrections in Manitoba.
The Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy focuses public resources on crime prevention, prosecuting serious criminal matters, more effective use of restorative justice and the responsible reintegration of offenders into the community. As part of this strategy, the Manitoba government committed to annually report on key performance indicators to track progress and remain accountable to Manitobans. These indicators include:
• restorative justice diversions,
• recidivism rates,
• in-custody population counts,
• percentage of individuals in custody on remand,
• time to disposition, and
• the number of delay motions filed.
Key measures are posted online at www.gov.mb.ca/justice/cjsm/.
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED