No timeline for Saskatoon Drug Treatment Court 2 years later: Sask. government


More than two years after the Saskatchewan government’s justice minister pledged to establish a drug treatment court in Saskatoon, there is still no timeline for its implementation.

A drug treatment court is a therapeutic alternative to the traditional court system. This forces participants to plead guilty and follow a process to deal with their addictions with the goal of removing people from incarceration. A drug treatment court already exists in Regina, but the province’s largest city does not.

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“I was comforted at first to know that the government was starting to talk to community organizations (about a drug treatment court),” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said in an interview.

“But I think with the pandemic she’s… stuck,” Clark said.

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Saskatoon to receive drug treatment court: Sask. Justice Ministry

Saskatoon to receive drug treatment court: Sask. Minister of Justice – October 15, 2019

The mayor is one of the leaders of 35 community organizations that started the Safe Community Action Alliance. In October 2019, they issued four recommendations to curb what they saw as “the growing drug health and safety crisis” in Saskatoon.

The therapeutic court is part of an approach that also includes increasing drug addiction treatment spaces and more coordinated outreach services.

Within days, then Justice Minister Don Morgan said a drug treatment court would be set up “as soon as possible” in Saskatoon.

Read more:

Saskatoon to receive drug treatment court: Sask. Justice Ministry

In 2021, Saskatchewan is on track to set a new drug overdose record. Meanwhile, Saskatoon does not have the drug court it was promised.

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“This is a step that will be important in helping to resolve this issue, so we will continue to stress the importance of a drug treatment court as part of an overall strategy. “

In a statement released this week, Justice Department spokesman Noel Busse confirmed that there was still no scheduled launch date for the tribunal.

“This work has been delayed due to the need for government and partner organizations to respond to the pandemic. We expect discussions to resume on this topic in the near future, ”Busse wrote.

Global News requested an interview with current Justice Minister Gordon Wyant, but was referred to Busse’s statement.

“Department of Justice and Attorney General officials worked with the judiciary and the Saskatoon Community Safety and Well-Being Partners Group to determine the potential for a drug treatment court in Saskatoon.” , he wrote.

The Regina Drug Treatment Court currently has 14 participants. The maximum is 30 people, and referrals are possible for people from other cities, according to the ministry.

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A referral to Regina is not enough, according to the mayor of Saskatoon.

“We have two ongoing pandemics,” Clark said.

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The COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor said, illustrated an urgent need for systems to reduce the likelihood of people becoming addicted and incarcerated. Instead, he said they need better programs and treatments.

Clark said he plans to meet with the Saskatchewan justice minister to keep the prospect of a drug treatment court “front and center” for Saskatoon.

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