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Province promises $2.3M to expand remand initiatives

An investigation is underway after a report of a sudden death at Saskatoon Correctional Centre on Saturday.
Over $2 million in new funding in the 2018-19 Saskatchewan budget will be used for expansions to the remand initiative. File / Global News

The Saskatchewan government says $2.375 million has been approved in the 2018-19 provincial budget for expansions to the remand initiative.

The funding announced Tuesday will go towards the Early Case Resolution program and Enhanced Bail Supervision project.

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“Research has shown that nearly all of the population growth in our jails is driven by remand,” Saskatchewan Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said in a press release.

“We’ve seen very positive results with the remand initiatives we’ve put in place, and it makes sense to expand these programs and continue to fine tune them over the next year.”

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Early Case Resolution allows cases to be handled over the weekend instead of keeping the accused in a correctional facility on remand. The program began in Saskatoon last year and later expanded to Prince Albert.

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Government officials said the funding will expand the program into Regina and add more staff in Saskatoon to focus on short-term remand during weekdays.

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The Enhanced Bail Supervision project started through a partnership with the Salvation Army in Regina. The Salvation Army receives funding from the ministry to provide residential beds to arrested men who would otherwise be on remand due to a lack of services.

The funding will be used to enhance the partnership that began in October 2017 and develop similar ones in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

Government officials said there was a reduction in remand growth and average daily remand counts across the province’s four adult correctional facilities at the end of 2017.