Premier John Horgan (right) took questions from media after making an announcement Tuesday morning, alongside Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and Penticton and District Manufactured Home Owners Association president Hugh Chown (left). Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Horgan shifts blame for Okanagan jail problems to Clark government

Premier was asked about the problems at Okanagan Correctional at a news conference this week

Issues with the Okanagan Correctional Centre are part and parcel with changing governments, if you ask Premier John Horgan.

At a press conference about manufactured homeowner protections, Horgan shrugged off a question about the challenges at B.C.’s newest jail, which is facing at least six lawsuits.

Related: Okanagan Incorrectional: B.C.’s promising, new jail grinds into motion

“Certainly, we’ve had no shortage of problems in the last eight months, unearthing challenges the previous government was unable to deal with,” Horgan said.

“That’s the nature of changes in government. When you transition from one group of people to another, inevitably you’re going to find issues that were pushed down the road, as it were, the can kicked down the road to a later date.”

No further questions were taken by Horgan, who did not clarify which issues at OCC were pushed down the road. Instead, the premier changed tracks to the embattled Insurance Corporation of B.C., which is facing crisis-level debts the B.C. NDP government has had to grapple with.

Related: Okanagan Incorrectional: Dashboard

“Certainly, the corrections facility is going through growing pains,” he added.

“As a new government, we’re responsible to make sure that we address those, and I have every confidence in the attorney general and the solicitor general that they’re going to take whatever steps they need to make this right for the institution and for the community.”

The Okanagan Correctional Centre has faced a number of issues, at least in its first year. The Western News kicked off the Okanagan Incorrectional series last week revolving around the issues at the jail, with part one and an informational dashboard available online now.

The second part in that series will be released on Friday.

Related: Another inmate files lawsuit against Okanagan Correctional Centre

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

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