EDMONTON, AB (October 4, 2013): Giving convicted sex offenders special privileges in Alberta hospitals, while denying funding for the rehabilitation of sex abuse victims is just the latest PC government policy out-of-touch with Alberta families, Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw said today.
Alberta’s Phoenix Program, unique for being one of the only programs in the world that treats sex offenders in hospitals, currently receives two million dollars in funding every year from Alberta Health Services and takes up to 18 beds at a time. Saskiw said that it is offensive that while Albertans struggle to get access to our health care system, convicted sex offenders are getting preferential space over patients. “Our Solicitor General Jonathon Denis needs a reality check. We need to put an end to these type of soft-on-crime polices and ensure that we are putting families, communities and victims of sexual assault first,” Saskiw said. “Why are we blocking beds in our hospitals with sex offenders instead of ensuring that space is available to patients in need of care? Minister Denis needs to end the debate and make a decision.” Saskiw said that after denying funding to the Be Brave Ranch, a first of its kind facility to rehabilitate victims of sexual abuse, and scrapping the electronic monitoring bracelets program for sex offenders, allowing for the Phoenix Program to continue in the Alberta Hospital sends the wrong message to Albertans. “Albertans should be confident that their government puts victims of sexual assault first,” Saskiw said. “Instead we see this out-of-touch PC government give hospital beds and spend millions on treatment for convicted sex offenders while victims of sexual assault are ignored.”