Wednesday, January 21, 2015

B.C.'s Overcrowded Prisons Endanger Inmates and Staff, Auditor-General Says
"British Columbia’s overcrowded prisons endanger both inmates and staff, and a number of core programs designed to keep prisoners from reoffending have failed, according to a new report by the province’s Auditor-General.

The findings from Carol Bellringer’s audit of provincial adult custody facilities, released Tuesday, echo the calls by the union representing British Columbia’s correctional officers, which has long voiced concerns about the dangerous conditions brought on by overcrowding.

In 2013/2014, nearly 16,000 people were admitted into B.C. correctional centres, divided about equally between those who were sentenced and those awaiting trial or sentencing. Population growth and the closing of 10 provincial facilities in 2002 contributed to 'extensive double-bunking in cells'– almost all of which were designed for single occupancy, the audit found....

'Prison overcrowding increases risk to both inmates and staff and contributes to the potential for conflict,' Ms. Bellringer said in a media conference call after the release of her report.

'Although the adult custody division inspects, assesses risk and monitors and reviews critical incidents regularly, it cannot demonstrate whether operating its prisons at these capacity levels provides for safe custody.'
Safety and security incidents have nearly doubled in the past five years, she noted."

View the Final Report

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