EDMONTON, AB – Prioritizing public funding of art exhibits for convicted criminals above proper funding for victims, or vital legal aid services, shows a disturbing lack of priorities under Justice Minister and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis, Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said (Thursday).
A government run exhibition of art created by criminal offenders in correctional facilities called, “The Artist Inside: Removing Barriers through Art” was recently hosted in Edmonton.
Saskiw said this is just the latest example of misguided priorities from this government that puts the comfort of criminals over the rights of victims.
“We’ve seen cuts to electronic monitoring of high risk criminals, a complete vacuum of leadership on legal aid, and funding denied to victims of sexual abuse, but they still have the time and cash to run art exhibits for convicted criminals,” Saskiw said. “It’s unbelievable that the Minister of Justice would prioritize these cozy programs for inmates ahead of some of the most vulnerable people in our province.”
The event was led by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Justice and included staff from Correctional Facilities across the province.
The Justice Department blog highlights the use of government resources and staff, something that Saskiw said is entirely inappropriate.
“With seniors across our province only getting one bath a week because the government won’t provide funding, the Justice Minister needs to explain why he feels that furthering the hobbies of people behind bars is a higher priority for his government,” Saskiw said.