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CLBC Supports Surrey Crime Reduction Partnership

Mayor Watts with CLBC

October 3, 2013

Surrey, BC - Community Living British Columbia today confirmed plans to support a community crime reduction partnership developed by the “Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities - Reducing Involvement in the Criminal Justice System” Committee as a part of the City of Surrey's Crime Reduction Strategy. The community partnership is focused on addressing unique needs of youth and young adults with developmental disabilities in efforts to reduce their involvement in the Criminal Justice System, and to facilitate the communication among partners if and when an individual with disabilities becomes involved in the system.

“Surrey is doing great work with government, Community Living British Columbia, and local partners to better support people with developmental disabilities who are involved in the criminal justice system,” said Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, Don McRae. “When we all work together we can help these individuals who are already vulnerable and have complex needs - and support their right to fair and just treatment when involved with the judicial system.”

“It’s often not readily apparent that someone has a developmental disability,” said Minister of Children and Family Development and Surrey-Cloverdale MLA, Stephanie Cadieux. “By establishing partnerships like this, we can increase the likelihood of early identification and, in turn, better support these young people and their families.”

Plans to support the partnership include:

• developing a proactive information sharing agreement amongst community partners that supports early identification of youth involved in the criminal justice system;
• coordination and cross training of justice teams and CLBC;
• outreach to identify individuals with developmental disabilities who are appearing before the courts;
• assistance with submission of a federal grant application for a pilot that would create a full-time justice advocacy position in Surrey; and
• continued support from a liaison facilitator for the Foundations Program with the Surrey school district.

“It is critical that we provide support to those in our community who are most vulnerable,” says City of Surrey Mayor, Dianne Watts. “The City of Surrey has brought together key partners to facilitate collaboration and communication on this important issue. It is our goal to ensure youth and young adults involved with the Justice System, or who are at risk of involvement, are supported.”

“The issue of developmentally disabled youth and their involvement in the justice system was brought to the City’s attention by the care and passion shown by the staff at the Surrey School District Foundation,” said Surrey Councillor Barinder Rasode, Chair of the Community Safety Committee and Chair of the Police Committee. “The staff diligently work with community partners to develop ways to support them. Without their genuine compassion, this issue would not have been highlighted today.”

Studies show that people with intellectual disabilities are more likely to confess to crimes they did not commit, plead guilty and-or say what they think a police officer wants to hear. Their crimes are often unplanned and if arrested individuals with intellectual disabilities may not understand their rights when accused of a crime and typically attempt to mask their disability.

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Media Contacts:

Amanda Silvers
Senior Communications Specialist, Office of the Mayor
City of Surrey

Community Living BC