Prison casts a long shadow

I keep reading from the pro-prison group that they are tired of hearing the same arguments over and over again against having a prison in Penticton. So let me see if I can put forth some new ones.

Safety: The city works yard is 0.71km from Carmi Elementary School, the Cantex gravel pit not much further away. Ask yourself, do you really want your children attending school under the shadow of a prison?

According to Corrections officials the facility will be safe, with the odds of anyone escaping quite high. However, this facility will also act as a remand centre, meaning rapists, murderers, child molesters and drug dealers will be constantly being driven to and from court.

Just this month a violent offender escaped while being transported to a halfway house in Vancouver. The individual is a convicted robber and has a history of violence and substance abuse. He reportedly told a therapist that he fantasizes about kidnapping and killing children, and they were putting this guy in a halfway house in the community. Are you prepared to live with this jail in our community, always thinking what if, what if?

Employment: I won’t go over old ground here. However, at a recent jail info meeting an individual said it was a shame our children were leaving Penticton because of lack of jobs. So I respond, what type of parent would want their children engaging in employment that calls for 24/7 shift work, little chance for advancement and the chance they will be putting themselves in harm’s way every day they go to work. Corrections officials have said there will be no guarantees of jobs if the facility is built.

Tourism (how do you spell stigma?): The Penticton work yards is close to the geographical centre of Penticton. As such, a prison facility built there would dominate any city photographs for postcards, calendars etc. — a constant reminder to potential visitors that Penticton is now a prison town. The facility would also be only 1.1 km from Cherry Lane mall where a large number of tourists shop.

Tourists will visit once but never twice. If I was a hotel/motel owner I would be extremely worried.

Housing: if you live within 10 blocks of the proposed jail site, ask yourself if you would buy a house near a prison. What will this do to the value of your home? Will you have to reduce its value by 15 to 20 per cent to sell it?

Are you, the citizens of Penticton, prepared to tolerate the negative impact this jail will have on your city — Penticton’s future is in your hands.

Email City Hall now and say no to having this facility in our beautiful city. Go here to send your opinion:

Or it will be “Penticton … a place to stay for two years less a day.”

Mick Black