Report calls for funding BC criminal justice system to end crisis

A report released yesterday calls on the provincial government to restore funding and begin a strategic reform of the criminal justice system. The report, “Justice Denied - The Causes of B.C.’s Criminal Justice System Crisis” was produced by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

The report examines the justice system chronologically, from the laying of criminal charges, to remand, trial and community correctional efforts and incarceration.

“This examination of the criminal justice system is deeply troubling but not surprising,” says Robert Holmes, president of the BCCLA. “Over the last decade our criminal justice system has faced massive budget slashing at the same time it was called on to handle more cases. As a result every element of our justice system has been compromised to the point where the system is barely able to function.”

The report shows budget cuts have led to staffing shortages and courtroom closures which have created an unmanageable backlog of criminal cases, waiting times mean hundreds of cases risk being dismissed, our prisons are dangerously overcrowded and rehabilitative efforts are failing.