Okanagan Correctional Centre welcoming new inmates

A Penticton man was the first to be sentenced from the local courthouse to serve time at the brand new Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Dignitaries

A Penticton man was the first to be sentenced from the local courthouse to serve time at the brand new Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Taylor McFadyen, 27, was sentenced to seven days in jail for a probation order breach and headed to the correctional centre just north of Oliver in the  Senkulmen Business Park.

Jan. 16 was the opening day for $193-million facility, with the keys getting handed over to the province in  October.

Staying on schedule, system testing, on-site staff familiarization and the outfitting of the centre with furniture and supplies have been completed and inmates are set to start phasing in.

“The phasing in of inmates will continue until fall 2017; by then, we expect the inmate count to reach about 400,” Cindy Rose, BC Corrections spokesperson, said in a statement.

“Initially we’re moving in inmates from the Okanagan catchment area — that is, those whom the courts would send to corrections with the Okanagan in mind, given the new custody option there. The inmate count will continue to climb as the courts send more individuals to the OCC and as transfers from other centres are scheduled.”

BC Corrections said in a statement the correctional centre will increase safety across all 10 provincial correctional centres, providing more inmate housing options.

The province said the facility provided 300 direct jobs in the South Okanagan for correctional officers and support staff.

The facility is the first of its kind, built in partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band.

The 29,500-square-metre, high-security facility houses both male and female inmates, as well as remanded and sentenced prisoners. The maximum sentence to be served at the OCC is two years less a day. The OCC is also the first correctional facility to open in B.C. in 15 years.

Around 140 inmates begin phasing in this week, with another set of inmates expected to be phased in sometime in May.

“The centre will also continue to present opportunities for existing and new staff. For example, as current staff from other regions choose to pursue opportunities to continue their careers in the Okanagan, at their discretion, this will open up hiring opportunities for people who may be considering a career in corrections in those other regions and communities.”