Inmates released from Oliver, Kamloops jails early during COVID-19 pandemic - InfoNews

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Inmates released from Oliver, Kamloops jails early during COVID-19 pandemic

April 10, 2020 - 12:52 PM

Four inmates have been released from Okanagan Correctional Centre and 13 have been released from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre in March, according to the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety.

“To reduce the number of people in custody, BC Corrections has the authority to grant temporary absences to individuals serving intermittent sentences, where it is considered appropriate and safe to do so. This process has resulted in granting temporary absences, which are reducing the intermittent population,” according to a statement issued by the BC Correctional Service.

Early releases are granted by providing a temporary absence, according to an emailed statement.

READ MORE: B.C. Corrections considering release of non-violent offenders because of COVID-19

BC Corrections is conducting risk assessments of non-violent, sentenced individuals, according to the emailed statement. The assessments consider  “criminal history, sentence length, offence type, and any other relevant information, including risk to public safety. In turn, these factors also shape the level of community supervision that BC Corrections provides to those individuals on temporary absences,” according to the statement.

The sentence will run concurrently with the temporary absence and BC Corrections may rescind the absence if warranted, according to the statement. BC Corrections also cannot release people who are in custody pending outstanding court matters as it rests with the courts and cannot release undocumented illegal immigrants.

Between March 1 and April 2, a total of 95 prisoners were released from 10 B.C. jails. Most of the early releases were granted for intermittent sentences. A total of 1,805 prisoners remain in B.C. jails as of April 2, with 265 at Okanagan Correctional Centre and 168 at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

READ MORE: Lawyers, advocate call for inmate release before COVID-19 spreads

Lawyers and advocates have called for the release of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in jails across Canada. One prisoner has COVID-19 at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

No one else in the individual's unit is symptomatic at this time, according to the emailed statement.


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