This figure is different from the 3,400 additional federal prisoners Head projected in his 22 June 2010 editorial in the Calgary Sun (read here; also read 23 June 2010 post) that he penned in response to the Parliamentary Budget Office's (PBO) forecasted 4,189 federal prisoner increase as a result of Bill C-25 (read 22 June 2010 post).
Based on the Commissioner's 22 June projection of a 3,400 prisoner increase, new units were to accommodate 2,700 additional prisoners, with another 700 prisoners being accommodated using double-bunking. With the projection now standing at 4,478 prisoners, is CSC planning to build 1,078 new prisoner beds on top of what they had already planned to build or are they planning to double-bunk all these prisoners that were previously unaccounted for in their numbers?
Another interesting facet of this story is that Head's 22 June cost estimate remains $2 billion today despite having added another 1,078 new prisoners to the mix. CSC is now projecting to absorb 289 more prisoners - albeit with additional bills in mind - than the PBO projected, yet the organization's cost estimate is $3 billion below that of our independent Library of Parliament accountants and researchers. This state of affairs defies logic.
It is with this in mind that the Canadian public, the media and Parliamentarians should renew their calls for some "Truth in Budgeting" (read here) to accompany the minority Conservative Government of Canada's so-called "Truth in Sentencing" agenda. Given the discrepancy between the prison population and related cost projections of CSC and the PBO, and the Commissioner Head's rolling estimates, the federal government ought to publish CSC's paper trail on this file so that Canadians can see their numbers and how they came to them. Only then, will we know just who to believe (the PBO or CSC) regarding the actual economic costs of increasing our reliance on punishment - an ineffective approach to addressing the complex harms and conflicts in our communities that we call 'crime'.