Protect Penticton from prison

Having lived in Abbotsford with a prison so close, I want to tell you that the thought of an escape was always in the back of my mind. I lived with prisoners’ wives on each side of me, and when one of the husbands got weekend releases he was there as well. She gave him an ultimatum, “You go back into prison and I wont wait for you again”. She had two toddlers to raise. He was an “old criminal”. He was of the attitude that was expressed by the TV series Baretta, “You do the crime, you do the time”.

On one of his final weekend releases before his final release, he stated to his wife that he would not be going back to prison again. He stated to her that the new criminals were scarier, more violent and did not take responsibility for their crimes. The new criminals believed that their crimes were not their fault, it was society’s fault.

I hope he found a job and turned his life around. She seemed like a struggling mom to me.

When the prison rioted, the first to be dispatched to the prison were the RCMP officers that were deemed not essential to the town and surrounding area. Then the army was called and waited with the RCMP officers on the outside of the prison yard for the prison officials to open the gates and let them in.

The prisoners were interviewed later and they stated that they were more afraid of the soldiers than the RCMP. Why? Because if a soldier was ordered to shoot, they would follow orders and prisoners would get hurt or killed, while the RCMP officers had to treat the prisoners more politically correct. You know, they have to be ‘kinder and gentler’ and answer for their actions.

Who is going to protect to City of Penticton while the RCMP guard the rioting prison? How far away is the closest military facility to back up the RCMP and prison guards? How long does it take to put together the RCMP Riot Squad? Chilliwack’s military base is now a university and the RCMP representative I spoke to said they thought the closest military base with personnel was on Vancouver Island. Seven hours by road if the ferries are working and several hours by air.

If the City of Penticton will not build low-cost housing for hard-working minimum wage earners, why would they support the building of a facility that only houses an unproductive population?

The jobs that will be created are not ‘happy’ jobs. The job of gaoler is depressing. I have known two gaolers. Both could not wait to find different occupations. One did find another job, he travelled hundreds of miles to get away from the jail and breathes easier and smiles more. His wife rests easier too.

The other was trapped. He didn’t think he couldn’t find another job that paid as well. He once told me, “If you knew who was in there you’d burn the place down”.

One of the tenants was the sadistic monster that kidnapped a teenage girl and held her in an underground prison for about a year. Use your imagination as to what he did with her.

Do the wealthy want to be next to a prison? They can afford security companies and heavy walls and razor wire to protect themselves. How about our aged population (that are increasing in numbers)? How about the minimum wage earners? How about those of us who were transferred here and then chose to stay?

I don’t want to have a prison as a local industry. I have been there and finished with it.

Put the prison somewhere else, where the real estate is not so valuable. Let our population and tourists relax and enjoy the beauty of the Okanagan.

Jane Turnell