Jus­tice min­is­ter look­ing for so­lu­tions

An­drew Par­sons hosts crim­i­nal jus­tice sum­mit in Cor­ner Brook

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - News - BY DIANE CROCKER dcrocker@thewest­ern­star.com

Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons was look­ing for some frank and open dis­cus­sion at a crim­i­nal jus­tice sum­mit his depart­ment hosted in Cor­ner Brook March 16.

To get it he filled a meet­ing room at the Glyn­mill Inn with peo­ple who work in and along­side the sys­tem.

Among the ap­prox­i­mately 50 peo­ple were lawyers, judges, peo­ple who work with cor­rec­tional ser­vices, vic­tim ser­vices and pro­ba­tion ser­vices, po­lice forces, indige­nous groups and so­cial ad­vo­cacy groups.

They were bro­ken up into groups with a mixed rep­re­sen­ta­tion at each ta­ble.

It’s the third sum­mit that’s been held.

“We all know what the is­sues are. OK. There’s no is­sue that’s go­ing to be brought up to­day that I’m not aware of,” said Par­sons.

What he wanted to find are the so­lu­tions, the fixes for those is­sues.

“If we’re go­ing to make im­prove­ments, we can’t be afraid to be bold.”

While there are is­sues that are sys­temic across the prov­ince, Par­son said each area has its own chal­lenges and that is why the sum­mits have been tak­ing place re­gion­ally.

“I’ve al­ways said that what’s work­ing and not work­ing in St. John’s you can’t ap­ply that to Labrador, you can’t ap­ply that to Port aux Basques.

“Ev­ery­where is dif­fer­ent and has their own lit­tle jus­tice ecosys­tem.”

Take the court in Stephenville, which he said op­er­ates with a very small staff.

“What they do is amaz­ing for the sheer num­bers that they have go through. But it’s be­cause of the peo­ple that work there.”

And he’d like to find out what they do that makes it work. It might now work some­where else, but it could pro­vide in­sight as the depart­ment tack­les the is­sue.

That’s part of what the sum­mits are all about, find­ing things that will guide the depart­ment in mak­ing de­ci­sions.

“We are chal­lenged to take it and find a way to im­prove the sys­tem,” said Par­sons.

Once the fi­nal ses­sion to be held in cen­tral takes place and the com­mon themes and sug­ges­tions have been put to­gether, Par­sons said he’ll be look­ing at short-, mid- and long-term goals that will bring about im­prove­ments to the sys­tem.

West coast is­sues Men­tal health and ad­dic­tions — Par­sons said it’s not just within the jus­tice sys­tem and ties into the health-care sys­tem.

“In or­der for us to make that part work in Jus­tice, well, we need to have the sup­ports there within the health sys­tem, you need to be able to get to see coun­sel­lors.”

There’s a lot of ground to cover and Par­sons said the depart­ment needs to make bet­ter use of tech­nol­ogy to do so.

DIANE CROCKER / THE WESTERN STAR

Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons is seen at a crim­i­nal jus­tice sum­mit hosted by his depart­ment at the Glyn­mill Inn in Cor­ner Brook on Fri­day, March 16.

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