Councillor says minister will travel to Kamloops to further community court proposal

Progress on special court?

B.C.'s attorney general will be making a trip to Kamloops to speak with organizers who have been working for years to establish a community court in the city.

Kamloops city councillors asked Niki Sharma about the status of a proposal for a long-awaited community court during a meeting at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention on Wednesday.

Coun. Katie Neustaeter said Sharma was “tremendously supportive” in the meeting, and committed to travelling to Kamloops to speak with the people involved in the proposal.

“We walked out feeling like this is something that is very achievable for our community,” Neustaeter said, adding council is hopeful the next steps for the proposal will follow in short order.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Jeff Pelley has said he’s a big supporter of a local voluntary diversion or sentencing court, which is said to help coordinate resources for people struggling with mental health and addictions.

Neustaeter said a community court would look at pulling together supports for vulnerable people for whom “jail time is not the appropriate reaction.”

“The things that they're struggling with, we need to put them through a better system that then channels them into health and wellness, and then also alleviates the stress on the court," she said.

A group of Kamloops law professors, lawyers and outreach workers submitted a community court proposal to B.C.’s Attorney General, which the ministry says it received in fall 2021. However, no such court has yet been established.

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