LAO launches pilot to expedite applications from Toronto South Detention Centre
Monday, September 18, 2017
Starting September 25, 2017, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is introducing a six-month pilot at the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) that allows lawyers to submit legal aid applications on behalf of clients, helping to expedite the application process.
The pilot, which provides another way for inmates to make legal aid applications, hopes to address concerns that have been raised by the Criminal Lawyers Association and multiple stakeholders about the delays and difficulties TSDC inmates face when they try to access legal aid.
The introduction of the Lawyer Inmate Request Form for Legal Aid Service is one of a number of LAO's initiatives to increase access points and to allow inmates timely access to their lawyers.
- In January 2017, inmates waited on average at least three weeks to access the video suite where they can make legal aid applications.
- Inmates in segregation or who need an interpreter may also experience a delay in accessing legal aid.
- In June 2017, after LAO launched various projects (a dedicated inmate phone line, improved awareness through the use of posters and stickers to promote telephone applications, increased awareness with TSDC correctional officers), inmates waited on average up to 48 hours to access the video suite where they can make legal aid applications.
- The video application list averages 11 clients at a time.
- The video unit runs on average 2.5 days a week.