Prison by the numbers

Here is some prison town math to ponder (these numbers are taken directly from B.C. Corrections — the turnover rate and prisoner release numbers are the only calculations).

Here is some prison town math to ponder (these numbers are taken directly from B.C. Corrections — the turnover rate and prisoner release numbers are the only calculations).

Proposed Prison for Penticton: 360 cell prison (making it the biggest provincially-run prison in the province); two beds per cell; 720 prisoners at full capacity; 72 day average stay for sentenced prisoners.

Therefore, assuming 100 per cent of prisoners were sentenced (as opposed to remanded), this means: 5.07 annual turnover rate of prison population; 3,650 prisoners would be released annually; These 3,650 criminals would be released with only a bus ticket by opening the prison doors and dumping the criminals onto the streets of Penticton.

If 100 per cent of prisoners were sentenced this number would be 3,650, and, of course, this is at full capacity. Cell overcrowding is rampant now, so if this prison was operating at the provincial average capacity of 165 per cent (from 2009/2010) this would mean: 6,023 criminals would be entering our town every single year. This is more people than live in the towns of Okanagan Falls, Osoyoos, Oliver, or Keremeos.

Is this what we want for our city? Do we really want higher crime rates, higher insurance rates, lower property values, and the loss of our personal safety? For the creation of jobs that according to B.C. Corrections own Deputy Minister will be mainly filled by current employees of B.C. Corrections who transfer here! What is our benefit? Is it increased traffic congestion? Higher policing costs? Greater water restrictions? Increased stress on our city’s infrastructure?

Please write to our mayor, city council, MLA Bill Barisoff, MP Stockwell Day, the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the local papers. We must stop this before it is too late.

S.E. Cornell

Penticton