Local inmates join fight to protect South Okanagan from flooding - InfoNews

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Local inmates join fight to protect South Okanagan from flooding

Inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre fill sandbags at the prison Tuesday, April 24, 2018 for use in the South Okanagan. Inmate identities have been concealed by agreement.
April 24, 2018 - 5:15 PM

OLIVER - It’s all hands on deck in the South Okanagan as even inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre are assisting in sandbagging efforts.

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General media spokesperson Colin Hynes says inmates at the jail are filling sandbags on behalf of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen for deployment where necessary between Summerland and the American border south of Osoyoos.

“Currently inmates are filling 250 sandbags a day. However, equipment to automate the process will arrive in the next 48 hours and once inmates are trained in the safe operation of this equipment, it’s expected they’ll be able to fill about 4,000 sandbags a day,” Hynes says in an email.

This is the first time the prisoners have participated in filling sandbags, but not their first job assisting South Okanagan communities. Hynes says low-risk, open custody inmates assisted the Town of Osoyoos with weed eradication last year, something they will be doing again this summer in both Osoyoos and Oliver.

The same crew could also be involved in projects as trail maintenance, collecting roadside trash, community clean-up or special projects and events requested by non-profit organizations.

Considerable planning and risk assessment goes into an inmate’s placement in open custody, he says.

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