B.C's newest jail in Oliver will be ready for prisoners early next year - InfoNews

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B.C's newest jail in Oliver will be ready for prisoners early next year

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris hands over the keys to the new Okanagan Correctional Centre to Warden Steve DiCastri today, Oct. 21, 2016.
October 21, 2016 - 2:37 PM

OLIVER - The province's newest, and biggest prison, has been officially opened in Oliver.

Politicians from all over the South Okanagan gathered at the $200 million Okanagan Correctional Centre in Senkulmen Business Park in Oliver for the formal ceremony. 

With dozens of new correctional officers lining the roadway at the entrance to the facility, MLA Linda Larson praised the new facility for the economic boom it was bringing to Oliver, noting the well-paying jobs and long term positions it brought to the community.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor Mike Morris said the new jail expands the capacity of B.C. Corrections to safely manage inmates and deliver programming that helps curb re-offending.

“The economic impact has been huge,” Morris said. 

The prison is expected to create 300 jobs for correctional officers and suppport staff. All but 12 positions have been filled with approximately 100 staff already at work.

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes joked Oliver was now able to provide “full service accommodation” but only for up to two years. Those sentenced to over two years in prison go to a federal correctional facility.

The prison is expected to achieve LEED building status for its energy efficient construction, said Plenary Group CEO Mike Morasco, builders of the prison. He said the public-private partnership will operate for 30 years with a life expectancy of the building estimated at 60 years.

Warden Steve DiCastri says the 378 cell prison will begin receiving its first prisoners in mid-January. Prisoners will be added in stages, with full capacity expected by mid-summer in 2017.

Demand for public tours of the prison has been overwhelming, DiCastri says. About 3,000 people are expected to have a look at the facility on guided tours this weekend and next.

Dozens of new corrections officers were on hand to witness the official opening ceremony for the new Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver today, Oct. 21, 2016.
Dozens of new corrections officers were on hand to witness the official opening ceremony for the new Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver today, Oct. 21, 2016.

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