Institutional Enhancements at Springhill Institution
Dear stakeholders and partners,
I would like to share with you information provided by Commissioner Don Head regarding the recent announcement about Institutional Enhancements at Springhill Institution:
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, and Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, on behalf of the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety announced earlier this week that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will spend $40 million to increase capacity within Springhill Institution. This announcement made at Springhill Institution is the first of many investments that will mean greater public safety for the people of Canada.
[Questions: Why was Springhill Institution, a facility opened in 1967, chosen as one of the CSC facilities to be expanded (read 18 August 2010 post)? What criteria was used and what process was undertaken to select this site (read 6 August 2010 post)? Further, given that the federal government is deciding to increase our reliance on incarceration, what evidence do they have that such an approach will enhance safety in our communities?]
CSC is making efforts to ensure it is well positioned to respond to the recent changes in legislation. The expectation is that there will be a significant increase of offenders, especially over the next three years. Our current analysis shows that the federal offender population will increase by approximately 3,400 inmates by 2013 as a direct result of the Truth in Sentencing Act, and by more than 300 inmates by 2014 as a result of the Tackling Violent Crime Act. More specifically for Springhill Institution this will involve the construction of 192 beds.
[Questions: Given that CSC has recently suspended its accommodation policy to allow for more double bunking, is the organization really well positioned to absorb an influx of new prisoners resulting from the Conservatives punishment agenda (read 11 August 2010 post)? Also, there exists a discrepancy between the Parliamentary Budget Office's projections of the prison population and related costs, which are outlined in a report released to the public for scrutiny and debate, and CSC's numbers (read 22 June 2010 post). Will CSC release their analysis and methodology so that Canadians can understand how the organization arrived at its figures?]
There will be an increase in shared accommodation and the addition of over 2,700 spaces across our institutions over the next three years to handle the population growth. The construction of these new living units will also mean construction jobs for the local community, and new hiring at the facility where the units are ready to be staffed. This is an important part of ensuring tangible economic growth for the communities located around our institutions.
[Has CSC undertaken a review of the impacts of establishing new facilities or expanding existing institutions on host communities to substantiate their claim that their expansion agenda will ensure "tangible economic growth" (read 12 May 2010 post)? If so, can the report be released to Canadians who are bankrolling these initiatives? If not, on what basis is CSC making these claims?]
CSC will be positioned to meet the challenge and build on our effective corrections expertise and is implementing a multi-faceted accommodation strategy to address the increase of the offender population. The Government of Canada is also committed to providing CSC with the tools and infrastructure it needs to manage a complex and diverse offender population. Providing adequate accommodation for a growing offender population will help ensure safer communities and safer institutional environments.
[Given that CSC is not well-positioned to provide prisoners with timely programming as it stands, how does increasing the prison population lead to an enhancement in the effectiveness of the organization (read the 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator of Canada)?]
* The name, position and contact information of the public servant who drafted this e-mail has been withheld to protect privacy.