More cash for more police

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MORE cops means more arrests means more people in jail means more money.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/03/2009 (5065 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MORE cops means more arrests means more people in jail means more money.

That in a nutshell explains why spending in Manitoba’s criminal justice system will go up by $27 million or seven per cent this year — almost twice the rate of overall government spending.

The biggest increase comes in adult and youth correctional services where more staff are being hired to handle the higher number of people in custody. A big part of that increase comes from the higher of youths arrested for auto theft over the past year and the creation of 90 positions in youth corrections.

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"You can’t have it both ways," Justice Minister Dave Chomiak said. "You can’t bring down auto theft by 60 per cent by not arresting people and keeping them in custody."

Justice officials also say the funding of more police positions in Manitoba — 80 additional officers paid for since 2005 — has also seen an increase in the number of adult offenders go up. The new budget pays for 10 additional officers in Winnipeg and one in Brandon

Officials said roughly 70 per cent of adults and youths are now held in pretrial custody.

Chomiak added construction is to begin this year on the already-announced new jail for women at Headingley to replace the aging Portage Correctional Centre.

Another cost driving up spending in the justice system is the RCMP taking over policing in East St. Paul. The pricetag for provincial policing jumps this year to $100 million from $93 million last year.

Where the province hopes to recover some costs is by increasing speeding fines. Effective July 1, Manitoba will have one of the heaviest penalties in the land for those with lead feet. For example, the fine for going 20 to 34 km/h above the speed limit goes to $448.50 from $278.

— Bruce Owen

 

Justice: $27 million

What it buys

More staff in youth corrections, 10 more police officers in Winnipeg and one in Brandon and the beginning of work on a new jail for women.

What it means

The corrections staff increase is meant to strengthen the fight against auto theft. The increase will be partly funded by sharp increases in speeding tickets, so ease up on the pedal.

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