Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in Oliver Friday morning – touring the Okanagan Correctional Centre. Farnworth told reporters (below) he is very impressed with the high tech facility and its education programs but has concerns about violence and contraband entering jails.
Farnworth says he is aware of some security issues to do with contraband – and the correctional facility personnel to inmate staff ratio – and those problems are being worked on.
Violence has plagued the institute, highlighted by three inmates who sued the prison last year. The Ministry of Public Safety said there were eight assaults on staff in 2017 at the prison and 94 inmate-on-inmate assaults. Farnworth acknowledged the issue of violence and said measures are being taken to improve safety for staff and other inmates. He also said the assault incidents aren’t exclusive to the prison in Oliver, but rather the issue is systemic.
“Violence issues occur in any corrections facility, not just here… It’s something that we take very seriously and something we want to minimize,” Farnworth said.
He added the “nature of the population” can be attributed to violence. “We know, for example, some of the causes here in the Okanagan are because many of the inmates know each other… And if there are grudges and issues being brought in from the outside, it makes it slightly more challenging.” There were also 153 incidents of contraband drugs and 21 incidents of contraband weapons.
With files from Castanet