B.C. Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth (centre) gets a tour of the lobby of Okanagan Correctional Centre Friday afternoon. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

B.C. solicitor general pays Okanagan jail a visit

Mike Farnworth said bolstering staffing at the jail, and other jails, is one of his priorities

B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general says the government is looking to bolster its staffing at Okanagan’s jail, acknowledging there have been issues with ratios of inmates to jail guards.

Mike Farnworth made his first appearance at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, the province’s newest jail, on Friday before speaking to media in the lobby of the building.

“It’s something that is a priority for me as solicitor general, and it is something that we’re working on,” Farnworth said of employment and retention at OCC.

“If you go around here, you’ll see banners saying ‘We are hiring,’ and these are good jobs here in the Okanagan, but in other parts of the province, so if people are looking for an opportunity for a good-paying, steady job, this is certainly one.”

In terms of retention, Farnworth acknowledged wage disparities with other law enforcement agencies, such as police and federal prison guards, were part of the issue.

“Contract bargaining will be taking place,” he said, adding the current union contract runs through to 2019, laying the blame for lower wages on previous governments. “There is a discrepancy (with other agencies) and contracts have been negotiated by previous governments, both at the provincial level and the federal level.”

Farnworth also spoke to recent measures to combat illicit drugs in the jail, saying though the addition of full body scanners to the jail had not fully plugged the flow of drugs into the site, he believed it helped.

“People are always creative, but from what I’ve heard, what I know and what I’ve read about body scanning at the same place that it has dropped it significantly,” he said. “It’s very impressive system that is here, but people will always try and find their way around (it).”


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton bellydancer makes impression on dance show judges

Celine Blais won’t know until the end of March if she made it on dance show, but signs look good

OneWorld: a multicultural celebration of diversity

Fifth annual event showcasing the cultural diversity of the South Okanagan

NHL official from Penticton celebrates milestone

Shane Heyer will officiate his 2,000th NHL game on Feb. 25

A taste of the Olympics

Nearly 300 students at Uplands Elementary School took part in their own Olympics

Okanagan Falls pot shop proposal causes concern

Concerns rising in rural areas about marijuana stores

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

A most delicious competition at the Mall at Piccadilly

Salmon Arm hosts the Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read