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Fall 2007 Edition

The Reporter

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scales of justice

Community Issues in Criminal Justice

"Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out..”
Francis Bacon, 1561-1626

Achieving Safer Communities In Alberta

In the Spring of 2007, the Honourable Ron Stevens, Q.C., minister of Justice and Attorney General of Alberta, announced the creation of a Crime Reduction Task Force, chaired by Ms. Heather Forsyth, Calgary M.L.A. Over the course of the next several months, the Task Force travelled across Alberta seeking information and ideas from citizens about their perceptions of crime in their communities and the responses to such that they felt ought to be adopted. The process culminated in a 2 day Symposium in Calgary in June, and out of that came, Keeping Communities Safe: Final Report & Recommendations, which was tabled in the Alberta Legislature in November 2007 1.

It must be stated at the outset that the Report is very well-written and that on the whole, presents a very balanced and accurate picture of crime in our communities. In many ways, it also presents an informed and thoughtful set of recommended responses, and the members of the Task Force, and their advisors, are to be commended for producing a document which could change the criminal justice landscape in Alberta.

There are in total some 31 Recommendations contained in the Report – far too many for this essay to consider in the detail they deserve. Instead, we will focus our analysis on Recommendation 31, which is the Recommendation that the Alberta Minister of Justice, The Honourable Ron Stevens, Q.C., has indicated is taking priority over all others in terms of immediate implementation.

31 . Establish a comprehensive, longer-term Alberta crime reduction and prevention strategy coordinated and supported by a dedicated responsibility centre within the provincial government.

The Honourable Minister, the Government, and members of the Alberta Legislature are all to be commended for recognizing the importance of this Recommendation, and for moving forward to implement the establishment of “a dedicated responsibility centre” to recommend the legislation needed, and develop the policies, procedures, and practices required to give effect to the other recommendations contained in the Report.

1. A copy of the Report can be obtained at

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