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January 15, 2004
For immediate release

Adult Criminal Court Statistics 2003-2003 Released

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General, Jamie Ballem today released the PEI highlights on Adult Criminal Court Statistics from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS).

"While this report was already released nationally, sometimes the results from smaller jurisdictions get lost and need some further explanation," said Attorney General Ballem. "It is also important to provide some context in terms of what these findings mean for our province. I believe that the PEI findings reflect that justice officials are working hard to ensure the process runs efficiently."

Highlights of the Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 2002-2003 include the following reference to Prince Edward Island:

Prince Edward Island has the shortest average processing time for court cases. (Cases were completed in an average of 32 days, with half of the cases being disposed in one day).

"These statistics indicate that judges, lawyers and all parties in the justice system work very hard to deal with cases as quickly as possible," said Crown Attorney Barrie Grandy. "While the figures seem to indicate that Prince Edward Island is doing a relatively good job of dealing with criminal matters quickly, they do not account for many challenges and the strain this volume of work puts on the system and the people working to make the system work effectively and efficiently. These include victim services, crown, defence, probation, corrections and police officials as well as judges."

Another highlight of the Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 2002-2003 is:

Fifty-nine per cent of guilty cases in Prince Edward Island resulted in a term of imprisonment.

Figures for Prince Edward Island include a large volume of offences dealing with impaired driving. In PEI, 89 per cent of impaired driving convictions resulted in incarceration. This is by far the highest incarceration rate for these offences in Canada.

"Prince Edward Island works hard to combat impaired driving in partnership with law enforcement agencies. Our justice system takes these offences very seriously and deals with most of them through incarceration. This significantly adds to PEI's incarceration levels," said Attorney General Ballem.

Media Contact: Jennifer MacLeod
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