Prison’s benefits overstated

I have never before written a second letter to the editor on the same subject, but the letter from Mike Pearce had some of the most outrageous claims I have seen yet regarding his support of the Penticton prison proposal.

Let me begin with the one that made me honestly wonder if I had ingested some hallucinogenic mushrooms before reading. Apparently, according to Mike Pearce, having a prison in Penticton will ensure good attendance at the SOEC. What? How did you come to that conclusion? Will the prisoners get day passes for good behaviour to attend Cirque du Soleil? Or maybe those prison wives and girlfriends will need something to pass the time while they languish in our local motels waiting for their loved one’s parole.

And please, no more fairy tales about all the jobs. Number one, these jobs will not go to locals as there is no prison guard training available in town. Number two, the custodial and food jobs will probably be contracted out to non-local firms. The prison construction will probably go to an out-of-town firm as well, given recent history.

So you can kill Mr. Pearce’s assertion of a billion dollars in benefits to the community. What makes people think throwing around absurd gigantic numbers like a billion makes their case more believable. I could easily counter with a prediction that $2 billion will be lost by the gigantic sucking vortex of lost opportunities and economic downturn that will befall us once the prison is approved. My claim has at least as much merit as the previous assertion.

And about the 39-day average sentence that was referred to, it makes it sound like the remand centre proposed here will house only the most minor criminals, like shoplifting, public drunkenness, etc. A remand centre can typically house the most dangerous criminals in the province while they are awaiting transport to federal penitentiaries. I could go on point by point, but it is making me dizzy trying to argue against what seems so painfully obviously wrong. Perhaps, what we need isn’t a prison, but instead how about a special purpose treatment facility for city councillors affected with stupid ideas. Vote No for the prison, and in the next civic election, consider before you re-elect anyone who has aligned with the Yes side in this issue.

Mike Hanley