"How we supervise prisoners is defined by union contract and court decisions and and staffing models," he said.

Oberle said he supports the concept of restorative justice which brings victims and criminals face-to-face with the goal of making amends.

"It has real value to the victim," said Oberle. "That is a key point here. It allows the victim to have ownership in the justice system."

Oberle's comments come after the former chief justice of Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench and Progressive Conservative leadership candidates publicly expressed bewilderment and dismay over his decision, which was first reported by CBC News Monday.

"It was very positive legislation," said former chief justice Allan Wachowich. "It was constructive. It was progressive, innovative and it was visionary."

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