Changes to Manitoba Justice coming due to COVID-19

By | April 1, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Justice has made multiple changes to its procedures in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Starting Thursday, all new admissions to youth and adult correctional centre will be handled through the Winnipeg Remand Centre, and all individuals coming into custody will be isolated for up to 14 days, the province said in a news release on Wednesday.

All in-person visits in correctional centres have been suspended, along with inmate programs, staff training and other group activities, the province states in a release.

Lawyers can continue in-person meetings with clients at all facilities, with the exception of the Winnipeg Remand Centre. The province said lawyers are encouraged to meet with all clients remotely whenever possible. The number of free phone calls for people in custody will be expanded to maintain contact with their support systems.

Starting Thursday, the province will expand access to bail hearings during evenings and weekends to ensure timely bail and other hearings and maintain system efficiency. Crown attorneys will work evenings, overnight and weekends for consultations and hearings.

In addition, the number of court hearings that can be held by phone will be increased to “avoid unnecessary transportation of people out of their communities,” the release stated.

Sheriff services will be used to assist rural police agencies with transports when possible.

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