A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

Archive for May 2011

Staff mistakes led to dangerous prisoner escape: Review

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Report Heavily censored concerning Vancouver Island escaped inmate

Freedom of Information request turns up “heavily censored” BC Corrections report

Excerpt from Nanaimo Daily News: Internal B.C. Corrections documents reveal failure of staff to properly note inmate’s dangerous history, allowing him to take advantage of work crew outside the prison.

B.C. Corrections staff made several errors in their assessment of a dangerous inmate who escaped from a Nanaimo Correctional Centre work crew last year, an internal review obtained by the Nanaimo Daily News shows.

Trevor Kenneth McCabe walked away from a farm work crew just outside the prison on Nov. 9 and was recaptured the next day. He has an extensive criminal record, including assaulting a police officer, and was described as a violent offender by RCMP. Inmates with a history of violence are not usually given the freedom to take part in outside work crews.

The review, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, also noted that corrections staff failed to count the inmates on “several occasions throughout the day” and didn’t enter required information about McCabe’s offence history into the case-management system. Source

Adding it up

– On May 24 we posted an excerpt from a Vancouver Sun article about the Kamloops prison community advisory board quitting en masse due to BC Correction’s ‘muzzle’ policy.

– In late March, ttwo Nanaimo correctional officers were suspended and subsequently resigned their positions, although officials did not elaborate. B.C. Corrections spokeswoman Marnie Mayhew said at the time she could not comment, calling it a human resources issue.  Now one of the former B.C. Corrections officers is being investigated over allegations of criminal activity while working at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre; suspicions of smuggling drugs to prisoners. Source



Written by summerlandbc

May 31, 2011 at 12:02 am

Posted in Recent Posts

“We thought we were moving to Summerland, not Slammerland.”

with 10 comments

Used to be a charming town by the name of Summerland

In response to Nick Yeoman’s comments on “Your article is not well researched.”

The content of this blog is one sided, probably because it is against a prison in Summerland. I am sure you must be happy to have been afforded the luxury of possibly choosing to move back to a prison town, whereas a lot of us folks here, especially those of us with young children, aren’t thrilled about the prospect of having one forced on us.

This site has provided our small community with countless reasons NOT to support a prison in our foothills. We, unlike Mission with all due respect, are a tourist destination. We are small in population, and despite all of our efforts to distract our visitors from the fact that our largest employer is BC Corrections because we have become home to this province’s largest prison is extremely naive. If we could with the wave of a wand, change the general population’s pre-conceived notions of a “prison town” then we might stand a chance of making a go of it, while maintaining our reputation as one the province’s most desirable tourist destinations. This my friend is not going to happen.

This aside, I myself am having a very hard time shaking my own pre-conceived notions of prison towns. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your original comments regarding what happens in the event of an escape is helping this cause more than yours. We thought we were moving to Summerland not Slammerland.

K. Staley



Written by summerlandbc

May 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

“Your article is not well researched”

with 13 comments

“Whenever there is an escape, there are police everywhere with sirens blazing, dog teams search and a helicopter flying around.”

Comment today from Nick Yeoman who lives 1/4 K from Mission prison. (In reference to a post about a letter we received concerning the lack of announcements by Corrections when a criminal escapes.)

“I think you should interview more than one individual.

I live 1/4 km from the Mission BC prison. Whenever there is an escape, there are police everywhere with sirens blazing, dog teams search and a helicopter flying around. They have never once entered my yard. You have to be pretty blind and deaf to not notice an escape. Also there is this new thing called the Internet, local news papers have the article posted in less than 1/2 hour.

You can tell the article isn’t researched enough as there is clearly a fence all the way around the facility, there just isn’t a locking gate at the front.

Also escapes have never once lead to a home invasion the escaper wants to clear the area as soon as possible or the dogs will find them.

I would love the police to show up at my door, how much safer can you be with an army of police protecting YOU?! Maybe if you were a criminal yourself this wouldn’t be an idea [sic] scenario.”

Response to Nick:

Thank you Nick for making it clear as to what we can expect when a criminal escapes. Although it’s odd that your experience differs so much from that of the other letter writer (when you both live within a 1/2 mile of the facility), in my estimation either scenario is undesirable.

In terms of our research being shoddy – Wikipedia sites Correctional Services Canada as saying “there is no fence” around Ferndale Institution therefore any escapes from Ferndale are classified as ‘walkaways’ . Source. Anyway that’s irrelevant if as you say the front gate isn’t locked.

“Army of police protecting you”

Who pays for that “army of police” Nick?

It costs $100,000 minimum per additional RCMP officer, so if as you say we would require an army of police can I assume that maybe ten officers would constitute an army?

That means we as taxpayers would be on the hook for $1,000,000+, NOT the provincial government. So we can kiss the grants in lieu of taxes goodbye. That’s the first purported benefit to get annihilated.

“You have to be pretty blind and deaf to not notice an escape”

Let’s assume that 20% of our tourists each year are older, therefore may be hard of hearing and their eyesight maybe isn’t so good. They might not notice an escape. What about the families, teenagers and younger people who come to the South Okanagan because it is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in Canada?

The scenario you reported is EXACTLY why we are saying that a remand facility (which is WAY worse than a minimum security facility), is a terrible idea for a tourist destination. Mission is not primarily a tourist destination. It is also three times larger than Summerland.

Attention politicians and prison supporters:

To all those politicians and people who are in support of the prison and keep telling us “You won’t even know it’s there”, read Nick Yeoman’s comments. His experience with this is first hand. And since Nick mentioned that my research isn’t up to snuff I thought I’d better verify his claim. It turns out he does indeed live within a mile of the Ferndale facility.

Written by summerlandbc

May 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

Vision not illusion

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Penticton Councillor Gary Litke ~ A clear vision on the Okanagan prison

Gary Litke, a Penticton councillor, said he has been trying to keep an open mind to the correctional facility, but a visioning exercise to create a plan for the future of the city, which the community is undergoing with the city, has made it difficult.

“Nowhere in those discussions so far have I heard any mention of the desirability of having a correctional facility in Penticton. Instead the community leaders participating are saying things like we need to create positive vibes for Penticton,” said Litke.

He said the vision sessions have put forward ideas of continuing to grow and expand the economy by building sports tourism, creating vibrancy in the downtown, capitalizing on the Napa Valley north reputation and transforming Ellis Street into a cultural tourism destination.

“As soon as a bright shiny object comes along we tend to do an about-face and chase it. Instead, we should be asking does this proposal fit with the vision we have for Penticton?” said Litke. “A correctional facility does not fit my vision with the future of Penticton, nor does it fit the vision of any of our community leaders. So I will not be able to support a project that does not fit that vision of Penticton. I will not support a smokestack industry despite its economic benefits. I will not be dazzled by the questionable economic benefits of this project. I cannot support a change in our direction from the wholesome, family, tourist-orientated community that we have been into something different. Source


Written by summerlandbc

May 27, 2011 at 11:54 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Petition of 3450+ signatures against Penticton prison

with 2 comments

May 24 ~ This afternoon a petition with 3450+ names of people against the Penticton/ Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen remand facility, was handed over to Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton.  Photos and complete story 

Residents of Penticton against remand facility in RDOS or Penticton

Written by summerlandbc

May 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

What do the neighbours think?

with 4 comments

We just had a letter submitted by a woman who’s father lives 1/2 kilometer from the Mission prison, from which an inmate escaped this morning:

“My father said he doesn’t notice these jailbreaks (2 in the last 2 months near his home), because NOBODY INFORMS THEM THERE ARE ESCAPED CRIMINALS ROAMING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.

He finds it very unsettling that nobody from BC Corrections notifies them of these escapes, and they end up finding out by watching the news like everybody else. Makes him angry. The minimum security prison where today’s escape took place, doesn’t even have a fence! [The inmate was serving a ten year sentence].

My father says there is no siren, nothing to notify people of an escape. He also says the regular announcements that are made can often be heard from his house ~ 1/2 km. away.”

Written by summerlandbc

May 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Don’t ask, don’t tell?

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It’s the first official weekend of the tourist season. I’ve just completed the post about Dan Ashton saying he does not agree his city’s reputation will suffer a hit if the prison moves in.

A moment ago I was informed of another prison escape – this time from the minimum security Ferndale facility in Mission, BC. (The escaped inmate was serving a ten year sentence.) CTV news article

When an escape happens from the Okanagan facility how will we deal with that? Residents, tourists, hockey school students etc all have a right to know and even if they aren’t informed as was the case April 17 when a prisoner escaped from the Maple Ridge facility, the news will eventually get out.

One can’t help but think that the city’s reputation will “suffer a hit”, regardless of what Dan Ashton thinks.

Another inmate escape


Written by summerlandbc

May 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton promoting the prison

with 2 comments

Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton does not agree his city’s reputation will suffer a hit if the prison moves in. “The south Okanagan Similkameen region needs the dollars and jobs the facility will bring in — estimated by the province to be $17 million a year in economic spinoffs and up to 566 construction jobs and 240 corrections jobs”.

Ashton urges residents to make decisions based on facts

Ashton said community acceptance will play a role in the province’s decision and urged residents to make their decisions based on facts and not hyperbole. Source The Province

Some facts

West Kelowna wants remand facility close… but not too close

document from the District of West Kelowna’s website states the following:

“The geographic location of the correction facility can provide the highest potential benefit to the District of West Kelowna (DWK) if it was located to the south or west of West Kelowna, and within 70 minutes driving distance of the Kelowna courts. This option would allow two main benefits, the highest likelihood of an economic benefit to the community …”

“Detriment: The reason for not wanting to locate the proposed correctional facility close to the DWK boundaries is based on potential public discomfort, ie. fear of increased crime, escapees, etc…. the closer the proximity of the correctional facility to the DWK geographic boundary, specifically to the south or west, the higher the likelihood of a positive economic benefit to the community….” The document also states: “there is a potential of public concern when a correctional facility is located close to “home”.

The District of West Kelowna apparently do not want the remand facility located north of the town due to loss of potential economic benefits. So if in fact they have any pull with the Province then Lumby will not likely be getting the facility since Vernon, not Kelowna, would reap the benefits (if there were any).

Burnaby turned down the remand facility

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, also a former corrections officer, parole officer and criminal lawyer successfully fought against having a facility in Burnaby. (Blog post March 4 full article).

Former Maple Ridge Mayor on BC Corrections and Fraser Regional Correctional Centre

In response to Corrections not honoring an agreement to inform neighbors of escapes: “I think the whole thing is a disaster and it’s only a matter of time before there are serious consequences,” Former Maple Ridge Mayor, Gordy Robson said.

Corrections defense on this matter was put forth by Jess Gunnarson of BC Corrections: “Both prisons have community advisory boards, which are comprised of at least six members of the community and prison staff, all appointed by the wardens.”

Kamloops Community Advisory Board quit over ‘muzzle’ policy concerning remand facility

A restrictive confidentiality agreement prompted the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre prison board to resign en masse. Board chairman Shawn Thompson “The boards were being asked to sign prohibitive confidentiality agreements… They can’t meet outside the centre, they can’t talk about prison matters while having coffee or during a social visit, and e-mails pertaining to the board’s work are the property of the centre”. He said the agreement interfered in the board’s role as an independent body representing the public in the management of provincial jails. Source Vancouver Sun

Dan Ashton disregards concerns of top Penticton money producer

Andy Oakes is President of the Okanagan Hockey Academy, an organization responsible for contributing $13.5 million dollars annually to the South Okanagan. In April, Oakes submitted a letter to Penticton council outlining potential concerns by parents of the hockey school students regarding hosting a remand facility in Penticton. (Letter by Andy Oakes protesting the remand facility)

The public discomfort sited above by the District of West Kelowna as being the primary reason they wanted the facility placed elsewhere, is the same reason Dan Ashton should be concerned about the perception of Penticton once a facility is placed here.

Is Ashton prepared to jeopardize an already successful business model for one that has been proven to be problematic on so many levels?

Written by summerlandbc

May 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Osoyoos bid for the “medium security” remand facility

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presentation re prison in Ososyoos Indian Band – Oliver

Click on photo for larger version

Proposal made by the Osoyoos Indian Band to the Ministry of Public Safety regarding prison near Oliver

Some details from the article in the Osoyoos Times:

  • The OIB is proposing a “P-3 partnership” for the project and would take on the responsibilities of designing, building, financing and maintaining the facility, should it be built at the band’s new industrial park north of Oliver.
  •  The band would look forward to creating roughly 200 new full-time jobs in the area.
  • A referendum will be held in June by the OIB, before the province makes its final decision.

According to the article, the facility is medium security. According to Tedd Howard, in a conversation I had with him on March 20 and posted on this blog, it is a maximum security facility. A minor detail?

Written by summerlandbc

May 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

Posted in Recent Posts

American studies invalid re Okanagan Facility?

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To quote a supporter of the prison in the South Okanagan:

“To use American prison studies to gain insight into the proposed prison for the Okanagan is, of course, patently absurd.”

What’s good for the goose…

Brent Merchant, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Solicitor General for BC, has been quoted as discounting some of the ‘No Prison’ studies because they were American. Yet on the Ministry of Public Safety/ Solicitor General’s website there are numerous quotes from American as well as international studies to support their correctional policies.

Examples from the Ministry of Public Safety/ Solicitor General’s website:

  • In a study commissioned by the ministry on dealing with youth gangs, the majority of reference material is American.
  • From the Criminal Justice Reform section of the Ministry’s site is another study from which the following is quoted: “Solid research evidence from Canada and other countries has given us some answers about effective ways of reducing crime.”
  • Another study titled Concern with Leniency: An examination of Sentencing Patterns in British Columbia, sites numerous American examples of justice issues as well as referencing American studies.
  • And a study titled Addressing Inefficiencies in the Criminal Justice Process – prepared for the BC Justice Efficiencies Project in 2009 – uses data from America, Australia and Europe.

When researching the inherent issues concerning correctional facilities, we were unable to find examples of studies done in Canada, which is why the ones we used are mostly American. This is not to imply that the studies are less than ideal, since the issues concerning the process of prison siting appear to be the same worldwide.

Written by summerlandbc

May 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm

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