A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

Archive for July 2011

Majority of Summerland is for the prison?

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5.7% of Summerland voters said ‘Yes’

Quoted from a July 25, Penticton Herald article:

[Mayor Janice] Perrino noted although a majority of the community has voiced support for the prison in two informal opinion polls, there is still an opportunity for public input prior to a final decision – even if Summerland is chosen by the province.

“So far the public has said ‘Keep moving forward,‘ so we‘re feeling good about where it is…”

In the main poll that Perrino is referring to, only 5.7% of Summerland’s eligible voters voted ‘Yes’. This was a poll which as the Mayor stated, was ONLY to determine if there was enough interest to pursue the idea further. (See previous article in Summerland Review Feb 22).

“Support for the facility appears to be higher in Summerland”

The Summerland Review ran a Wolf Depner article on July 5, where he compares the Summerland poll to the one in Penticton and asserts that “Support for the facility appears to be higher in Summerland”

Both Depner and Perrino are implying to the Solicitor General that our community is in support of the facility. We are not.

And considering the new information in Daphne Bramham’s, Vancouver Sun article of July 22, this 5.7% of the Summerland voters who said yes, are likely to change that vote to a definite NO.

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Written by summerlandbc

July 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

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“Shackled with private-prison experiment…”

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Surrey Pretrial Centre expansion: first private prison in BC

July 25, 2011 – Above is a screenshot of Daphne Bramham’s Edmonton Journal version of her article originally printed in the Vancouver Sun last week.

The first private prison in BC was announced last week following the signing of a contract between the BC government and Brookfield Partnerships for the Surrey Pretrial Centre expansion. Brookfield Partnerships Surrey is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, a publicly traded company with assets of $150 billion dollars. More info

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Written by summerlandbc

July 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

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Impending Okanagan prison announcement

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A vote to keep the HST tax results in Summerland being more likely to get a prison

Jail announcement delayed due to the HST?

If the HST is extinguished in the upcoming vote, then the $1.6 billion dollars received from the Federal government as an incentive to harmonize the tax will be a debt owed by British Columbians. And if the Feds insist that BC taxpayers have to repay it (why wouldn’t they?), then there will be no money left to buy things like new prisons.

The revised deadline for returning the HST referendum ballots is August 5. 

Written by summerlandbc

July 25, 2011 at 9:16 am

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Vancouver Sun article on private companies building prisons

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‘Tough on crime and good for profits’

Today’s edition of the Vancouver Sun has an article written by Daphne Bramham, titled ‘Tough on crime and good for profits’.

The article follows on the heels of the announcement this week of an agreement finalized between the BC government and Brookfield Financial Corp., a publicly traded company, to build, finance and maintain the Surrey Pretrial facility.

An excerpt from the article concerning Stephen Harper’s ‘tough on crime’ legislation, in relation to the Okanagan prison situation:

It’s unlikely that [Stockwell] Day’s Okanagan constituents ever anticipated the trouble that might bring to their bucolic valley known for its wine, weather and beaches even after he retired from politics.

Few could have anticipated that British Columbia’s biggest jail would be located in the southern part of their valley or the possibility that the 720-prisoner facility would be financed, owned and maintained by a publicly traded corporation.

Read Daphne Bramham’s full article in the Vancouver Sun

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Written by summerlandbc

July 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

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A real whopper

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hmmm.

“The last escape from a provincial jail was 40 years ago…” 

July 17, 2011 – We weren’t going to bother bringing this up, mostly because we’re pretty tired of all of this prison c**p, but in today’s Province newspaper there is yet another article concerning an escape – this one from 2009 which apparently went unnoticed by those in charge at BC Corrections. The reason I say that, is because according to Corrections there hasn’t been an escape in BC for 40 years.

We only found out about it because the case went to the Court of Appeals and now the story is in the media spotlight. Apparently the defendant felt he should be given credit for time served while in remand for a year.

What tipped us off about the escape was the judge’s explanation as to why the appeal was denied:

“To give Mr. Preddy credit for any time in custody prior to the disposition of the original charges would allow him to benefit from having escaped,” said the judge, and “Further it would diminish the deterrent effect of sentencing. This is because it would send a signal to persons who are detained awaiting trial that they have nothing to lose by trying to escape because, if recaptured, the time then spent in custody will be counted as part of the sentence imposed for the escape.”

So we know for sure that Mr Preddy escaped.

What we didn’t know until we did a bit of googling was that the escapee, whose full name is Timothy Shawn Preddy was considered a ‘violent criminal’ and that at the time of his escape, he was being held at the Prince George maximum security remand on several serious offenses, including attempted murder.

Apparently he was charged after a “distraught woman was found running down a street in Valemount, near Prince George, with her hands bound with electrical cord. Police found another woman tied up inside a motorhome just outside the village.” (CBC article August 4, 2009)

“Flagship Facility”

It’s interesting that in several of the public meetings with BC Corrections, Brent Merchant, Assistant Deputy Minister, used the Prince George Correctional Centre, (maximum security remand/ sentenced facility) as an example of one of their flagship prisons. Merchant said that it was built to the highest security standards just like the one in the Okanagan would be.

So how Timothy Preddy broke a window with a piece of broken porcelain from a sink, climbed to the ground using sheets braided together and managed to get away and remain at large for six weeks, is a bit of a mystery considering the ‘high level security’ standards.

The ‘RCMP Professor’

On June 8 at the Penticton Forum with a panel from BC Corrections and RCMP experts, we were informed that: “The last time an inmate escaped from a provincial correctional facility was 40 years ago”. (Statistics provided at the meeting show communities with jails similar to what is proposed can expect to have one escape every 60 years.) Source: CHBC News

It was actually Darryl Plecas who said you can expect one escape every 60 years. He’s a criminologist from the Fraser Valley University, and hired by the RCMP. Some know him as the ‘RCMP Professor’.

On the forum panel, Plecas was the specialist on all things prison related and in fact had at one point been commissioned by Corrections to write a report which he titled ‘An Analysis of Escapes’. (Note the ‘s’ on escapes)

Some Corrections may be in order

We’ve said a few times, that we’re not afraid of escapes even though the excitement caused by one probably wouldn’t be appreciated by the tourists coming to the Okanagan to get away from it all. It’s just difficult to make an informed decision about the prison when the facts turn out to be such whoppers.

So just to set the record straight, and without spending too much time looking into it, we thought it might be helpful to post details of a few escapes that we know of for sure:

BC Correctional facilities escapes

2011 – Maple Ridge inmate escapes

April 2011 – An inmate scaled the fence surrounding a temporary tent structure for inmates at the Fraser Regional Correctional Center – in broad daylight. Surveillance video captured him climbing over a tall, wired fence that surrounds the prison compound and making his way through a forest. Previous post 

2011 – Dangerous inmate escapes 

March 2011 – 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. Source Nanaimo Daily News (When an inmate is on a road crew he is under the authority of BC Corrections. However Corrections doesn’t appear to count it as an escape if he goes awol, which statistically shows it to be a frequent occurrence).

2009 – Violent offender escapes from maximum security Prince George remand

Aug 2009 – Timothy Shawn Preddy, the one currently in the news and mentioned above, was known to police. He also had a history of escapes. Source CBC 

2008 – North Fraser prisoner with history of violent crimes escapes 

August 2008 – B.C.’s solicitor general is watching for the results of an internal investigation into the second escape from a high-security jail in less than a year. The investigation into the second escape will focus on how the guards handle the transfer of prisoners to and from local court hearings. The North Fraser Pretrial Centre houses about 600 inmates; as many as 100 are transferred to and from courts and other facilities each day, said [John] van Dongen [Solicitor General]. Source CBC

2008 – Escape of violent offender

Jan 2008 – Following the escape from the North Fraser Pretrial of a high-profile prisoner … Source BCGEU

“Easy escapes” (40 in one year)

1988 – Oakalla Prison may be old news but 1988 is a lot more recent than BC Corrections statement as “40 years being the last time someone escaped”.

Michael Yates, a former guard at Oakalla prison recounts the stories of escapes from Oakalla Prison. There was one year when they saw more than 40 escapes between January and July… Source Burnaby Newsleader

“Offences have been committed while on escape”

We also did a search for ‘escapes’ on the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s website, and although there was nothing concerning incidences of escapes, there was a reference to them in the following, concerning high-risk inmates:

“The inmate is likely to escape. This is a particular consideration when:

Escapes have been attempted;

Offences have been committed while on escape; and/or

The inmate’s attitude and behaviour have not improved since recapture.” Source PSSG

Just keepin’ them honest, as they say on CNN.

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Written by summerlandbc

July 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

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No lesson learned for BC Corrections

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“The numbers in my community were, at best, hazy — if not somewhat misrepresented.”

In the May 10, 2011 session of the BC legislature, Kathy Corrigan, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake (Official Opposition Deputy Caucus Chair and critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General) questioned Solicitor General Shirley Bond concerning past issues with BC Corrections. The following is an excerpt from the transcripts.

K. Corrigan: “A couple of years ago in my community of Burnaby, there was a suggestion that a remand centre would be built at a location that the people of Burnaby did not want, and government changed its mind.

I recall that in the discussions about that throughout the time period that government had first announced…. They said it would be at that location, that they weren’t going to consider any other location and that the decision had been made. But it was sold, or tried to be sold, to the community as a facility for — you know, I can’t remember — around 350.

It was only much later, through FOI’s [Freedom of Information] and a lot of digging, that we found out, in fact, that it was another facility where the actual capacity could be up to 700. It made my community quite angry when people found out that, in fact, what was being sold to them was something that would house — I think they said — 350 cells. Maybe there was something of an assumption there, but certainly, the impression of the community was that it was going to be 350.

…I also think it’s very important for government to be honest when they are looking at siting a facility in a community — that a lesson be learned from what happened in Burnaby and that government consult fully and take into account local wishes. As well, be forthright in what it is exactly that a community is going to get.

Now, my understanding is that in the Okanagan there is more consultation happening, and I commend government for that. I think that’s appropriate, but it certainly didn’t happen in my community. The numbers in my community were, at best, hazy — if not somewhat misrepresented.”

Solicitor General Shirley Bond’s response to Kathy Corrigan:

“The process in the Okanagan has clearly been outlined. We have rejected a particular site because a community did not want the correctional facility there. We do our very best to be accurate and informative. I’m very pleased to say that there are a number — I’m told; I haven’t seen them — of exceptional proposals for a new corrections facility in the Okanagan, and I look forward to adding that capacity. We’ve been very pleased with the way the staff and team have been able to work with those municipalities. So I look forward to a new facility opening in the Okanagan in 2015.”

K. Corrigan: “Well, then, it sounds like the ministry has learned a lesson.”

In retrospect it appears that BC Corrections have been intentionally misleading citizens in potential prison communities, for quite some time. It would also appear that they did not learn any lessons from the botched prison siting in Burnaby as they continue to misrepresent the facts.

On March 11, 2011 our post titled ‘Questions Leading to More Questions’, addresses the same issue that Kathy Corrigan said was one of the reasons the prison weas rejected in her community of Burnaby. Kathy Corrigan’s husband Derrick Corrigan, himself a former corrections officer, parole officer and criminal lawyer is also Mayor of Burnaby.

Excerpt from our March post concerning the number of inmates:

“One of the misconceptions about the prison from the beginning, was regarding the number of potential inmates. This was due to the limited information from both the council and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office. For example: a question and answer from the official Ministry proposal: Q. How many inmates will be in the prison? A. There will be 360 cells in 10 units. That’s like asking someone “How many people are in the restaurant” and their answer is “there are 54 tables”. Was this ambiguity intentional that led to a majority of people believing there would be 360 inmates? At the meeting we got the real answer; 720. But that’s 720 on day one when the prison opens its doors.”

Derrick and Kathy Corrigan successfully fought to keep the facility from being placed in Burnaby. We intend to do the same.

Written by summerlandbc

July 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm

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Lumby Demands Answers

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From the Vernon Morning Star Newspaper July 3, 2011:

Frustration is growing as Lumby residents still don’t know if inmates will be their neighbours.

It was expected the Ministry of Public Safety would announce the site of a proposed Okanagan correctional facility in June, but that didn’t occur.

“With all the community has been through, it deserves to have some answers,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“People are asking me what’s going on. Everyone is walking on egg shells and wondering what’s happening.”

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July 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

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