Prince George-Mackenzie Liberal MLA Mike Morris is panning most of the 28 recommendations given to the government on how to deal with prolific offenders.
Just under half centered around improving mental health services including one where the province is asked to make a significant investment for people with acquired brain injuries and developmental disabilities.
However, Morris told Vista Radio while some offenders are in need of these services, that doesn’t excuse the serious crimes they’ve committed.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact prolific offenders that the police deal with are bad people for the most part. They are the ones going out and taking advantage of a lot of the vulnerable people that we have in society who do suffer from mental health and addictions. They are dangerous people for the most part and they (the committee) completely missed that point.”
Morris is of the belief it’s more than likely some of these prolific offenders will play the system in order to get out of custody and re-offend.
“They will do everything that they can to convince a prosecutor or court that they are suffering from these inflictions as well even though they may not be so that they can get back on the street and continue trafficking drugs and taking advantage of vulnerable people again.”
In addition, Morris stated he is also not in agreement that the term “prolific offender” should be scrapped by all police and government agencies.
“Prolific offender is the only term that we should be able to apply to these folks that continually come through the doors after coming in contact with police for prohibited weapons, bullet-proof vests and stealing vehicle after vehicle ignoring all the court orders and conditions.”
“We have a problem here that needs to be addressed,” added Morris.
The last recommendation that raised eyebrows in Morris was that a Retail/Business Liason added to each police force.
He called this move shear window-dressing and what is most needed is for prosecutors to ensure the judges are seized with the information on just how bad some of the prolific offenders are.
“How many vehicles have they stolen the last time they were in court? How many victims have they taken advantage of since the last time they were in court and how many court orders have they disobeyed since the last time they were in court? The judge needs to hear that.”
“Now, the attorney general should have aligned his resources a little bit better to meet the challenges faced by the various court decisions and the changes to the criminal code. I don’t think he’s done that. I think the Prosecution Service is under-resourced and I think we need to look at dedicated prosecutors if need be for each prolific offender so that the prosecutor knows their file inside and out,” Morris added.
In April, a letter was sent to Attorney General David Eby as well as Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth by the BC Mayors Caucus.
Criminal offense data was collected and found PG has 15 prolific offenders.
A prolific offender is identified as someone with over 30 negative contacts within the last year.
Subsequently, a negative contact is described as an individual or suspect that has been considered a suspect or charged.
A PRIME file is better known as Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME–BC), which consists of your personal information, including your name, fingerprints and what you’re charged with, which will be collected by the police and entered into its computer system.
For example, the letter states the top 15 prolific offenders in PG generated 736 PRIME files across BC, 282 of which were negative contacts.
One of the key examples was an offender from the northern capital who accumulated 916 PRIME files since 2016 – this includes 262 in the last 12 months.
The final report also suggested 100 thousand dollars in funding and resource allocation for the design of a pilot program at PG’s Indigenous Justice Centre.
A link to the report can be found here.