Program will help Manitoba women awaiting trial | National Union of Public and General Employees

Program will help Manitoba women awaiting trial

Similar programs are already operating in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg (8 May 2009) - Women awaiting trial in Manitoba should be able to spend more time in their community and less time in prison under a new program launched by the province's NDP government.

The province plans to launch a new bail certification and verification program this month. It has contracted the Elizabeth Fry Society — a support group for women in legal trouble — to make arrangements for two support workers and a supervisor to run the program.

The workers will evaluate living conditions and support systems and make suggestions to the court. In situations where bail is granted, the workers will maintain contact with women to ensure that they comply with the conditions of their release.

The goal is to minimize disruption in the lives of the women, which often happens when they are removed from communities, families and children while waiting to go to court.

In its first year the government says the program will focus on women serving pre-trial time in the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Ontario and Saskatchewan have had similar programs in operation for many years.

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