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Recovery Science marks 500th case

When talking about going from Parry Sound to Thunder Bay, most people wouldn’t measure it in the same terms as Steve Tan, partner with Recovery Science Corporation (RSC).

For him, the symbolic voyage is a measure of the success of the electronic monitoring company he helped develop. The very first time the courts granted bail that required their monitoring was in Parry Sound in 2010, and just recently, they marked their 500th in Thunder Bay.

RSC provides GPS and alcohol monitoring for individuals involved in the criminal justice system — including bail, conditional sentences and peace bonds — as well as alcohol monitoring for treatment, child protection and custody/access cases.

While the technology has improved and helped earn the trust of legal professionals across the province and beyond, Tan says the basics are still the same. 

"We assist the justice system by providing a customized risk management tool that provides an alternative to incarceration for those who may not meet the legal test for bail or serving a sentence in the community without monitoring.

"The core premise of the program is that people can be expected to behave differently when they know they are being monitored. And when they don't comply with their court-ordered terms, RSC reports to the police," he says, adding that the violation rate is only about 10 per cent.

"It’s very rewarding to fit into the criminal justice system and help meet the needs of all stakeholders,” Tan says.

"A program such as ours enforces the presumption of innocence and the right to reasonable bail by using alternatives to incarceration, decided by judges using the ladder principle of ordering the least onerous conditions required," he says. 

While most of their work is in southern Ontario, Tan says it’s fitting that the company’s milestone 500th case was further afield.

“We provide our services anywhere in Canada,” he says. “We've found a way — either by sending a technician to distant areas or hiring local technicians to service central hubs — to offer our program almost anywhere.”

Tan says they usually get involved as part of the bail plan in cases with relatively serious charges like assault, sexual assault, drug trafficking, firearms, and robbery. 

“We have monitored 35 bails where the accused was charged with murder,” he says, “and seven Court of Appeal bails.”

He says the company’s next goal is to "reduce costs so the service can be accessible to more people, including exploring how we might be able to work with provincial legal aid plans." 

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