Alternative Measures Program
The Alternative Measures Program is utilized as an alternative to judicial proceedings with persons alleged to have committed minor offences. The goals of the program are:
- Preventing the individual from obtaining a criminal record
- Preventing the continuation of criminal behaviour
- Promoting community involvement
- Fostering community awareness through participation
The program may be offered to first and second time adult offenders in lieu of formal court process. The Crown makes the decision for entry into the program and if approved the person is referred to community corrections. If the individual acknowledges guilt and is interested in the program, an agreement is signed which stipulates what the offender must do to satisfy program requirements. The benefit to the offender is that he/she will not acquire a criminal record if the program is successfully completed.
Adult offenders may be required to perform community service work as a condition of a court order. Community work service is an accepted way for offenders to make meaningful, non-monetary restitution to society. Community service also allows sentences to more closely fit the circumstances of certain offences, and ensures that adult offenders are held accountable to the community for their actions.
Offenders involved in the program are assigned to work for a non-profit community or government agency. All offenders participating in the program are supervised by personnel at the sponsoring agency and by probation officers.
Offenders sentenced to pay fines may participate in the fine option program if non-payment of those fines will result in a default period of custody. It allows offenders to satisfy the financial terms of their fines through community work service. They can perform this service in lieu of, or as a supplement to, the cash payment of fines. The compensation rate is set at minimum wage standards. This monetary amount is used to compute the number of hours required to meet the court financial requirements.
When enough credits are earned, a voucher is issued to the clerk of the court indicating that the requirements of the fine have been satisfied.
Offenders serving a sentence because they defaulted on the payment of a fine may be eligible to participate in the institutional fine option program offered at correctional centres. Some offenders may be granted a temporary absence permit to complete assigned work in the community. Others remain in the correctional centre and are assigned extra work there. When they have earned enough credits to satisfy the fine, they are released. Failure to complete a fine option program agreement may result in further charges and, in the case of institutional fine option participants, cancellation of the temporary absence permit.
The temporary absence program allows carefully selected, minimum security offenders to access some form of conditional release from provincial correctional facilities for employment, educational, medical or humanitarian reasons, once they have served at least 1/3 of their sentence.
The program is intended to help offenders successfully re-enter the community as productive, law-abiding citizens. The temporary absence program gives eligible offenders the opportunity to secure or maintain employment, support their families and meet educational or other training needs.
Alberta Correctional Services provides courts with a community-based alternative to remanding accused persons in custody by providing pre-trial or bail supervision for these individuals.
The primary objective of the pre-trial supervision program is to ensure that the accused person meets the release conditions set by the judge. These conditions may include regular reporting to the probation officer, or in some cases, the police.
Offenders may be ordered by the court to serve their sentences in the community, on probation or conditional sentence orders, under the supervision of a probation officer.
The probation officer assesses risk factors and personal needs to determine necessary supervision levels and program requirements for the offender. Offenders placed by the court on conditional sentence orders receive intensive supervision and may have curfew and programming conditions included on these orders.