“Our area of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Public Security works with law enforcement and stakeholders from Health, Social Services and NGO’s to create a framework to support those that commit a disproportionate amount of crimes. These individuals, known as prolific offenders in the justice system and complex needs clients in health and social services, often struggle with addictions, mental health, cognitive issues, homelessness, lack of education, and are entrenched in the criminal justice system. Within the justice system their health and social issues often become criminalized. Once this occurs the individual often struggles to find and access the off ramps or pathways required into social and health agencies—or these pathways are few and far-between (or non-existent) – and many vulnerable people fall through the cracks.
The Integrated Community Safety Unit under Public Security has worked to create a collaborative multi-sector approach to address the needs of these individuals. Intuitively, and based on international research, we were well aware that this was the right path to follow. It was not until the partnership between our area and PolicyWise’ Child and Youth Data Laboratory where our intuitions and work over 10 years were validated. The results of their work clearly showed the need for a multi-sector collaborative framework to support these complex needs individuals. Their report and considerations assisted us in opening significant dialogue with our partners. We were no longer relying solely on experience and intuition but on an evidence-based approach provided by the results of data from an Alberta context. These learnings and data analysis have propelled us forward significantly.”
– Menasha Nikhanj, Director, Integrated Community Safety, Justice and Solicitor General