The Town of Peace River is inviting residents to become involved in a process that advocates to the Province for improved inmate release practices at the Peace River Correctional Centre.
At this time, inmates being released are driven to downtown Peace River, where they are dropped off without means to access essential needs, and without transportation out of town. This has had a significant impact on our community, creating issues for residents and business owners. We are working hard to try and address these issues in a meaningful manner, but have faced challenges as a result of the number of inmates being released into our downtown core on a regular basis.
Part of the work we are now doing includes an advocacy campaign to the Premier and Provincial Ministers of relevance, and we are hoping you would be willing to share your experiences related to these issues as part of this advocacy effort.
If you have been personally impacted by the release of inmates into the Town of Peace River, we ask that you write and send a respectful letter outlining your concerns and how you have been affected by these issues to:
Please sign this letter with your name, signature, and home address.
If you do not wish to write a personal letter, we have also included a form letter below, which you can sign and then submit to [email protected].
The deadline to submit your letter is September 25, 2023.
These letters, and other advocacy efforts, will be submitted to the province later this month.
Thank you for sharing your input. We love our Town!
What Has Been Done to Date?
This advocacy effort is not the first step in addressing this issue. Rather, it is yet another piece of a larger puzzle. Efforts to date include:
- The Town has been in contact with administration at the Peace River Correctional Institute about their current release program, including talks about what can be done to potentially reduce the number of inmates released into downtown Peace River without any means of transportation to their homes or elsewhere.
- The Town has been formally discussing the issue with our MLA, and various Ministers, to advocate for rural bus transportation support between Peace River and various communities in northwestern Alberta.
- The Town has requested — and has since seen — a more visible RCMP presence in the downtown area. This has included late night security checks of properties, including notifying business owners if their businesses are not locked.
- The Town has undergone a Crime Prevention by Environmental Design (CPTED) review of the downtown core to identify areas of improvement, such as enhanced lighting and additional door frame security that could be implemented to secure both private and public locations.
- Also at the end of August, the Town’s Mental Health Task Committee reported that Alberta Health Services is allocating more personnel time to interact and work with those who are homeless in our downtown core. Personnel will work with individuals on mental health, addictions, and homelessness issues.
- The Town, along with Northern Sunrise County, have allocated funding to the Sagitawa Outreach Program, intended to provide businesses with support in reporting issues as they are occurring, and in supporting workers dealing directly with the local homeless population.
- The Town continues to advocate for police resources, social services, mental health supports, correctional programs, and supportive housing for those being released from the Correctional Centre.
- Advocating to the province on improved transportation for the Town.
- In April 2023, the Town of Peace River delivered a Minister’s Brief on the issue, which can be read below:
Corrections Centre Inmate Release – Minister’s Brief