A former Edmonton detective wants to see a replacement program in place before the provincial government shuts down a sex offender treatment program.
Two Alberta law associations, The Criminal Trial Lawyers Association in Edmonton and the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association in Calgary discovered the NDP government’s plans to remove the Phoenix Sex Offenders Treatment.
Wil Tonowski served with the Edmonton Police Service High Risk Offenders section and he told Global News without a replacement program it will be a nightmare.
“It’s really important that they’ve made gains while they were in prison. Just sitting there biding their time is just a ticking time bomb until they come out again. They need that treatment and they need the right treatment and the right intensive treatment for the right people and that was the magic for that program,” said Tonowski.
Tonowski said the program is important to minimize re offending.
“It was just little common sense things the average person would think, but these are individuals that had horrible upbringings, have some serious mental health issues, and honestly didn’t understand how wrong it was to hurt people and children.”
Tonowski said a shining example of how well the program works was the rehabilitation of Karl Toft.
“He’s probably been labelled Canada’s most notorious sex offender with over something like 363 victims and he was probably the shining example of the success of the Phoenix program. If you spoke to him he would attribute his success, when I say success it means no more victims, he would attribute that entirely to the Phoenix program.”
The Criminal Trial Lawyers Association and the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association said the government plans to remove Phoenix by March 2017. (djs)(with files from Global News)