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Award compensatory work: Granby dragging its feet

cour-municipale-granby-2013-accorde(Granby) The Municipal Court Granby fared poorly in a comparative study on the allocation of compensatory work. Granby is far behind cities of similar size whose municipal courts responded to the survey an area the analysis group.

Compensatory work helps low income people pay their debts related to contraventions by working voluntarily for a community organization. This program is a right available to low income individuals under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to the Coalition of community organizations in Quebec Reference (ROCRQ), the Quebec average is 27 compensatory work (tc) allocated per 10 000 inhabitants. This is far from the case in Granby in 2013, for example, the municipal court granted tc 0.5 per 10 000 inhabitants, a total QE3. The following year, seven people were accepted to the compensatory works program (PTC), which increases the ratio to 1.17 per 10 000 inhabitants.

This is the conclusion of a report released Thursday after a long process.

A dozen community and institutional actors in the region have begun to address the issue after concerns had been reported roaming committee of the Haute-Yamaska, in 2012. Since then, the committee on compensatory work in Granby (CTCG ) conducted surveys of a dozen municipal courts in Quebec. A ratio was calculated per 10 000 inhabitants and eligibility guidelines established by the responsible person in each of these courses have been requested.

At the bottom

Result?

“It confirms that Granby court is very, very strict. One can even speak of injustice in this case, critic Nicolas Luppens, coordinator of the GASP (Group share solutions poverty), because these people in great distress, in bad financial situation, that need help in order to get by. Granby ranks last with low application of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The court is required to give access to the fine option program. In Waterloo as the court gives about 3 compensatory work per year while covering almost all of the Haute-Yamaska, Granby apart. ”

The figures vary from one city to another. Mr. Luppens estimated that these changes are due to the discretionary nature of the decision and the lack of application scales of article 333 of the Criminal Procedure Code on the fine option program, especially as it is one the same person who makes the decision.

“There are some courses that are more flexible or more stringent, according to the person in place. It was noted that when the resource person was more open, more sensitive to the applicant’s financial situation, access is easy, “he points out.

Examples

Mr. Luppens gives as an example the case of a roaming Granby who was refused the compensatory work. He told the GASP coordinator that the person responsible for the municipal court would have offered to quit. “It is not reason that was mentioned in the refusal of compensatory work, but it was said,” recalls Mr. Luppens.

Its total fines amounted to $ 1,700 for offenses such as having engaged in public places are not permitted hours or soliciting money. He was denied his request for compensatory work and was instead offered the terms of payment of $ 5 per month. But such a sum is food for him, a bread that he can not buy, said the coordinator.

As it could not honor the agreement, man is now imprisoned for a term of 67 days, “which generates social costs of tens of thousands of dollars.” It should be returned to the street to two-thirds of his sentence and its debt will be cleared.

Me Gerson Foisy, who holds his semi-retirement to help people who ask for compensatory work, cites the case of a lady of fifty. Mental health did not allow him to do compensatory work. Unable to pay fines of $ 1600, she ended up behind bars. Is serving only two-thirds of his sentence of 96 days, the cost to society will be $ 40,000, Mr. Luppens slides.

Tags to determine

In his analytical report, the committee on compensatory work in Granby offers several recommendations for the situation improves. It maintains that such a program is beneficial for applicants but also for society which avoids prison sentences.

It is proposed that the municipal court working with the committee component agencies to develop a framework for analyzing eligibility for the fine option program. Then the committee recommends that the Court develop guidelines for payment arrangements adapted to the realities of the vulnerable or at risk. Finally, the committee would like the court is considering alternatives to encourage meetings with the municipal court officer since schedules would make access difficult.

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