To address the problem of repeat offenders, the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General launched the Priority Prolific Offender Program (PPOP) in 2008. PPOP is a focused and integrated strategy to improve coordination between courts, law enforcement, probation officers and analysts. The PPOP unit includes police officers representing the Calgary Police Service, the Edmonton Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), along with criminal intelligence analysts and probation officers. PPOP receives referrals from law enforcement on repeat offenders who primarily commit less complex crimes (e.g., break and enters and property crimes). PPOP works to ensure the courts have the most comprehensive information available on these offenders, so the most appropriate sentences can be imposed and rehabilitative opportunities are realized. The PPOP unit monitors court procedures, makes recommendations to the Crown or probation officer regarding support services that could promote rehabilitation, and facilitates access to support services upon the offender’s release.
PPOP has three key objectives:
Policy and Program Development
The Priority Prolific Offender Program is a collaborative operation with direct involvement from frontline police members, criminal intelligence analysts and community corrections personnel. These positions are developmental in nature and involve the members being seconded to the Government of Alberta from their home agencies.
Issues were identified through Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force regarding the revolving-door offender population. The Task Force recommended that targeted action be taken “to address the problem of repeat offenders” (2007).
Program costs are significant, including salaries for one police member and one criminal analyst from the Edmonton Police Service and the Calgary Police Service, and two constables from the RCMP (seconded to the Government of Alberta). The start-up costs of the program were approximately $1.3 million and included the costs of the secondments, travel, equipment rental, communication devices, maintenance and office supplies.
Through a pilot project.
PPOP works with offenders that policing agencies identify as priorities within their communities, completes a comprehensive information package to the courts and police services, monitors court procedures, provides individualized recommendations to Probation/Crown, and facilitates services upon the offender’s release. Through this practice, PPOP works to create a seamless and efficient process, and works to decrease the criminal activities of the offender, thereby reducing the workload for law enforcement agencies especially in relation to repeat/prolific offenders.
Communication has been strictly for the internal stakeholders, i.e., policing, other government ministries, corrections.
An external PPOP process evaluation completed in 2011 concluded that PPOP offers a promising and beneficial approach in addressing the issue of prolific offenders in Alberta. The evaluation made a number of recommendations, all of which have been implemented. A long-term evaluation is expected to be completed in March 2013.