A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

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Conrad Black answers questions in the Huffington Post

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Conrad Black’s insight into Canada’s prison system

Last week I posted a question on the Huffington Post, asking Conrad Black for his thoughts on Bill C-10 and the over-sentencing of the incarcerated. Following is my question and his answer.

Q: You were quoted in 2010 as saying the prison system is home to an “ostracized, voiceless legion of the walking dead.” You also said many of the inmates had been grossly over-sentenced as a result of the failure of the U.S. War on Drugs. Could you give your thoughts on the Conservatives’ omnibus crime bill and whether it is sending Canada in the U.S. direction? 

A. “I don’t think (the crime bill) will take it to such subterranean levels of injustice as the United States, but I think it is in some respects a step in the wrong direction.”

“On the particular case of this crime bill, what worries me — and I am not for a variety of reasons going to slag off the government because I think in fact this government is a good government — but we are getting an inordinate number of native people in prisons and it is not the right way to treat them.”

“The United States has five per cent of the world’s population, 25 per cent of its incarcerated people and 50 per cent of its lawyers. The legal profession in general in the United States, and to some extent in this country, is a cartel. It is an abusive cartel and the court system is essentially, on the criminal side in the United States, just window dressing to confer a veneer of a society of laws on the executable whims of prosecutors who win over 90 per cent of their cases, compared to 65 in this country. And more than 90 per cent of the cases they win are without a trial.”

“I spent over $30 million paying off these American lawyers.” – Conrad Black

The former media baron spent a total of nearly four years incarcerated in the Unites States after being convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice. He described the American justice system as a “gigantic and evil fraud” and said lawyers in the U.S. are part of an abusive cartel. The Tory crime bill doesn’t quite go that far, Black said, but is a move in the wrong direction.

Jail is a “ridiculous and horribly expensive and counter-productive way to treat non-violent criminals,” Black told HuffPost. White collar criminals should be put to work instead of placed behind bars and the mentally ill should be cared for in hospitals and asylums where they belong, he said. Source: Huffington Post 

Written by summerlandbc

August 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

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The Senate is our only hope…

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Only one group in the entire world can stop Harper and Bill C-10.

 

Put the money back into schools, hospitals, caring for seniors and for the environment. Tell them you want the ‘Tough on Crime’ bill stopped now.

Contact the Senate.

Written by summerlandbc

February 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

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Chief Clarence Louie on the P3 prison deal

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Chief Clarence Louie's Osoyoos Indian band land correctional facility

NIMBY but YTOBY?

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“Yes” to our backyard, Kathy Corrigan?

Kathy Corrigan NDP MLA for Burnaby, and her husband Derek Corrigan, Mayor of Burnaby, successfully fought against a provincial remand centre in Burnaby. Derek Corrigan, was a former corrections officer, parole officer and criminal lawyer. (Blog post March 4 full article).

A question for Kathy Corrigan

If it’s not ok to have the remand centre in your backyard, Kathy, why have you been pushing for it to be in ours?

According to a Metro News article:

Kathy Corrigan, the NDP’s critic for public safety and the solicitor general, said the announcement is a “long time coming” and “overdue.”

“I’m glad to see that there apparently is going to be an announcement,” she said.

Corrigan said the province’s prisons are playing a game of catch-up and in some cases hold up to two times their capacity.

“That’s not acceptable because what that has meant is that we have in overcrowded prisons … a lot of volatility.” she said. “We’ve had attacks on guards.”

Corrigan said she predicts the issue will get even worse when the federal Conservatives pass their new crime bill.

And if there’s any doubt about the security level…

Derek Corrigan quoted: “a remand centre is always maximum security because people who are awaiting trial for murder, robbery, sexual assault and other serious offences can be held in remand, along with people who have failed to appear for court, failed to make bail or are awaiting transfer to other jurisdictions.”

He also said “this makes remand a more difficult facility to run because people have such varied offences and there is a constant movement of prisoners.”

Written by summerlandbc

February 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

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Janice Perrino announces prison decision

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Mayor Janice Perrino upstages Premier Christy Clark, Shirley Bond and Chief Clarence Louie

This morning Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino upstaged Premier Christy Clark, Solicitor General Shirley Bond and Chief Clarence Louie by announcing the prison decision. (Odd that Deputy Minister Brent Merchant who informed Perrino yesterday of the decision, didn’t mention it was on the QT.)

Full interview

Written by summerlandbc

February 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

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Minimum vs Maximum Security for Oliver

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Still Getting it Wrong

In the previous post re Oliver, it is reported from KISS FM that the security level of the new prison, is “minimum security”. This is a factual error. It never has been “minimum security”.

Clarifying the security level

I clarified the security level back in April of last year by phoning Tedd Howard the Deputy Provincial Director, Capital Projects, BC Corrections. This came about due to the errors in various news agencies concerning the security level of the proposed prison and I wanted to hear it from the Ministry themselves. (See post on security level conversation with Howard).

Apparently some people, and hopefully Chief Clarence Louie isn’t one of them, still think this is a minimum security prison.

Chief Clarence Louie on the prison

Back in April, Chief Clarence Louie did think it was minimum security. Below are transcribed notes from Louie’s answer to a question about the prison, at the Outlook Conference where Louie was a guest speaker.

Q. What are your thoughts on the prison?

A. I showed them the site within the infrastructure. There are always some who will vote no on every issue. There’s not a single family who always get along. We have a good site, it’s jobs, revenue and spin-off benefits. Three hundred potential new families. Jobs and revenue; I’m always for it.

I toured the prisons. 70% are aboriginal. You can’t say “not in my backyard”.

Most inmates ended up in jail due to no job. Other than maximum security… that’s a whole other story. 

Committee already crunched the numbers. They’ve already shortlisted it.

Shown on paper to be a huge project. It’s good if in the Okanagan.

Chief Clarence Louie of the OIB, was on the panel of Stockwell Day’s review of Correctional Services Canada that published a report titled ‘A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety’. Louie was one of four panel members with expertise in public policy and public safety. The review board was headed by Rob Sampson, a politician and privatization proponent.

OLIVER IS THE LUCKY WINNER

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New Prison Expected For Oliver

From 107.5 KISSFM Sunday, 05 February 2012 13:15…

It appears a new prison in the BC Interior will be located in the South Okanagan, and on First Nations land.

The BC government has announced Premier Christy Clark will be in the South Okanagan on Monday morning. Premier Christy Clark will be joined by Minister of Public Safety, Solicitor General and Attorney General Shirley Bond and Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band to make an announcement benefiting public safety and job creation for families in the Okanagan. That is expected to announce the site of a new 360 cell, minimum security prison which Lumby, Summerland and the Penticton First Nations also submitted proposal for. The announcement will be made at Senkulmen Enterprise Park on Hwy 97 in Oliver.

Written by summerlandbc

February 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

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The reasons for the delay with the Okanagan prison decision

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In December, I spoke with Rudy Enzmann, Executive Assistant to Okanagan MP Dan Albas about the delay re the announcement for the correctional facility in the Okanagan. The context of our conversation, is as follows:

Site Servicing

The holdup re the decision is in part, due to ongoing internal cost reviews on infrastructure costs.

Some of the sites that were initially put forward, were already fully serviced whereas others were completely un-serviced.  Ultimately site servicing costs can be very significant and this would be a consideration in the site selection process along with how the costs of these services were being paid for. 

It is conceivable that the Province may assume the full costs of these expenses or conversely look to enter into cost sharing or partnership agreements with a municipality. 

If it is the latter case, then initial costs could be offset by the benefits down the road and there would be agreements based on latecomers fees, eg: If the site is only on septic it could be a cost sharing issue but all these scenarios are factors currently being looked at, and it may be that the Province assumes all costs.

There’s also the possibility of holding a referendum to authorize borrowing funds required for that infrastructure. Some communities will chose not to participate because of the complexities of the arrangement or the requirement to borrow the money. When the municipality gets into an infrastructure agreement, it may have surplus or “reserve” funds for infrastructure; it could be electrical or water funds or they may have to look to borrow the money for the project.

Public expenditures are always undertaken in order to provide a public benefit. The challenge with provincial remand centers is that these require a straight outflow of capital funds to build, maintain and operate on a yearly basis. These are significant expenditures.

Location

Various areas have been looked at and since there are already facilities in Prince George and Kamloops, the Province needs to look at the Okanagan.

There is no doubt from information to date [that Rudy has seen], that there is justification to have a remand in the southeast quadrant. We can justify that from a logistical standpoint. Proper inmate housing along with the ability to provide logistics and efficiencies that meet legal requirements and the needs of the justice system are also important concerns as are overall costs to taxpayers to do so.

But there are site servicing criteria that have to be considered and it’s a strictly geographical aspect as to where you put the facility. Servicing is a huge part of it and it’s costly.

Transportation

There’s another aspect that has been overlooked and that’s the transportation issue. For remand prisoners you have a lot more movement; shuttling to different facilites. There’s a lot of movement of inmates. To accommodate that movement you need a very good road network. 

What transportation arteries do we have? One of the challenges with the South Okanagan is, for example; a slide on the road. The advantage in other parts of the Okanagan is that there are far more road options so you could use a detour if necessary. South Okanagan sites are geographically isolated and you get road closures. A road closure is a problem when you’re transporting a lot of prisoners.

The bottom line is that expanding the Kamloops facility isn’t the answer because the Okanagan is a corridor where it’s needed. It will be somewhere in the Okanagan and you can make an argument that it should be in the southeast quadrant of BC.

HST Payback

The other factor in the holdup of the decision is the HST. The HST payback could put a huge dent in the plans for the facility.

This is speculation only, but a decision may not occur until after the Provincial throne speech [Feb 14] and the new budget is released [Feb 21]. Although it also could occur at any time. 

As mentioned, the final point as to the timing of the announcement, is purely speculative. $200 million is a very significant amount of money, and more so as reverting back to the PST will result in a net loss of revenue to the Provincial Government and increased administration costs.

At the time the previous budget was tabled the results of the HST referendum would not have been known, likewise it also my personal opinion that the Province underestimated the amount of excess revenues that were generated by moving to the HST. I believe this was in large part because the Government, much like the public, was very unaware of the massive amount of services under PST that were taxable exempt.

Fortunately the BC Government now has a much more broad-based understanding of the revenue implications of reverting back to the PST system and also now has established repayment terms with respect to the transition money.  As such I will maintain my speculative point of view that a decision will not likely be forthcoming until after the upcoming budget/throne speech.

Footnote: Rudy Enzmann was the only person who was forthcoming with information concerning the delay with the correctional facility announcement. Instead of giving the standard answer of “it’s a big decision and has to be weighed carefully”, he took the time to explain the holdup and with reasons that made sense. Thank you Rudy.

Written by summerlandbc

January 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm

“A very sincere and heartfelt thank you…”

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Inaugural speech of Mayor Janice Perrino

Summerland, BC - Mayor Janice Perrino

Excerpts from Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino’s Dec 1 inaugural speech; similar words to Chilliwack Mayor, Sharon Gaetz’s inaugural speech from 2008. Coincidence?

Janice Perrino: It has been my pleasure to sit in the Mayor’s chair for the last three years and it is with great pleasure and humility that I preside as Mayor of Summerland and the leader of this team for another term.

Sharon Gaetz: It has been my pleasure to sit on Chilliwack City Council for the past twelve years as a Councillor and tonight it is with great pleasure and humility that I preside as Mayor of this City and leader of this team. 

Janice Perrino: I have had great respect for the accumulation of wisdom, knowledge and talent that has been represented by this past council and I am deeply thankful for all of the incredible goals we set and achieved over the past three years.

Sharon Gaetz: I have great respect for the accumulation of wisdom, knowledge and talent that is represented here and I know that this community has chosen well. 
 

Janice Perrino: To the staff, on behalf of the past Council, I wish to extend a very sincere and heartfelt thank you for the invaluable service you provide, not only to Council in the delivery of our mandate, but also for your professionalism and commitment to serve the residents of our community. We look forward to working with you this coming term.

Sharon Gaetz: To the staff of the City of Chilliwack and on behalf of Council, I extend a very sincere and heartfelt ‘thank you’ and look forward to working with you in the future… I would like to take a moment to thank the staff of the City of Chilliwack for the invaluable service they provide, not only to Council in the delivery of its mandate, but also for the professionalism and commitment to serve the residents of our City. 

Janice Perrino: To the community, we are here to serve you and are thankful for the trust you have placed in us. We will continue to be open and accessible and will work diligently on your behalf. We all stepped forward to serve because we love this community and want it to be healthy, safe, prosperous and strong.

Sharon Gaetz: To our community: We are here to serve you and are thankful for the trust you have placed in us.  We will continue to be open and accessible and will work diligently to provide you with leading edge government.  We all stepped forward to serve because we love this community and want it to be safe, healthy and prosperous.  We want to have Chilliwack continue to be a place of great beauty and prosperity in which we can live, work and play. 

Sarah Palin on a memorable day

Ok, so back to the prison…

What does this all mean, Mayor Perrino? Were you really being “sincere” with your promise of a vote concerning the proposed correctional facility? Hmmm?

Written by summerlandbc

December 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

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Rick Mercer’s ‘Rant’ against more prisons

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Rick Mercer has a rant about Harper’s Bill C-10 crime bill.

Right on Rick.

Written by summerlandbc

November 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm

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