Friday, January 27, 2012

"This is what I've been saying all along but nobody believed me." ..... Vic Toews. That's because you're a politician silly man!


Prison population growth shower than predicted
Plan to hire thousands of guards aborted

By Jeff Davis
Friday, January 27, 2012

Canada's prison population is not growing as fast as expected following tough-on-crime legislation, prompting Corrections Canada to abort plans to hire 4,000 new prison guards.

According to the most recent data, Canada's federal prison population stood at 14,893 at the end of 2011, significantly fewer than the 17,189 prisoners Corrections Canada predicted would be locked up by then.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he never believed predictions that the prison population would grow significantly when the government passed legislation that increased mandatory minimum sentences and repealed the twoforone time-served provisions.

Toews said he now feels vindicated. "This is what I've been saying all along but nobody believed me," Toews told Postmedia News Thursday. "The thrust of our legislation is focusing on serious, repeat or violent offenders and doesn't create new prisoners or new criminals."

Instead, Toews said, the Tory tough-on-crime legislative package has shut the "revolving doors" of Canada's prison system, and the prison population is increasing not because there are more convictions, but because sentences are longer.

"We're looking at about 25 per cent of the actual forecast," he said. "Instead of attracting all sorts of new criminals into the system, we're just retaining the old ones."

Corrections Canada Commissioner Don Head circulated a memo to his staff on January 13, saying that because the prison population is not ballooning as expected, the plan to hire thousands of new guards has been abandoned.

"It was based on a projected inmate population of approximately 18,000 by March 2013," Head wrote. "To date, this population stands at just under 15,000, substantially less than our projections for this point in time.
"Let me state very clearly: our hiring of staff is assessed based on the actual number of inmates, not projections," he wrote. "As a result, we will not be hiring 4,000 new employees."

The Correctional Investigator of Canada, Howard Sapers, said that although the prison population has not expanded as predicted, it has grown significantly. In January 2010 there were 13,300 inmates, he said, whereas now there are 14,800.

"If you look back over the last 24 months, the federal inmate population has grown by about 1,500," he said. "That is the equivalent of about three large, medium-security institutions."

Sapers said it is difficult to determine why the inmate population has not grown as much as expected, but suggested the provincial inmate populations may be growing, or there could simply be fewer crimes occurring. In any case, he said, the growth is less than most experts had feared.

Although Corrections Canada has scrapped plans to hire 4,000 new guards, Sapers said, it has already hired hundreds of new staff to deal with the population increase thus far.

On Monday, Ontario Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur said she expects the Tory anti crime Bill C-10 - currently before Parliament - will cost her province around $1 billion extra.

Toews said because the prison population is not growing as fast as expected, efforts to create 2,500 new prison cells will give everyone in the prison system more room to breathe. He said the first new or renovated wards will be opened in summer 2012
.
Some of Canada prisons are very old, such as the Kingston Penitentiary, which was built in 1834.

jdavis@postmedia.com
twitter.com/JeffDavisOttawa

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