January 13, 2015 - 1:19 PM
VICTORIA - British Columbia's prisons are overcrowded, tension-filled facilities that do little to prevent inmates from returning to crime when released.
That's the conclusion of a report by auditor general Carol Bellringer who is recommending changes to provincial adult custody facilities and the programs they run.
Bellringer calls on the government to develop and implement a performance framework that includes goals and targets to achieve safe and secure prisons that reduce criminal behaviour.
The audit says B.C. jails, which held 16,000 people last year, are operating at 140 per cent capacity, with more than half of the inmates sharing cells meant for one person.
The auditor says provincial jails succeed in providing accommodation for inmates, but little else because only one in five programs offered has been shown to cuts repeat offences.
The audit says jails will remain overcrowded despite the addition of 800 new cells at the Surrey pre-trial centre and a new facility in the Okanagan.
Late last year, Liberal backbencher Laurie Throness completed a report that recommended jails introduce more apprenticeship training programs in order to offer inmates skills they can use to find work once they are released.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015