April 10, 2020

-3° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe


Advertise With Us

Crowded jails a concern: Tories

Lead to high number of contraband-item seizures

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/5/2015 (1785 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THERE have been about 850 seizures of contraband items from inmates in provincial jails over the last two years, sparking concern about the effects of overcrowding at the institutions.

Progressive Conservative justice critic Kelvin Goertzen raised the matter in the legislature Wednesday.

He said the large number of seizures -- contraband can include anything from liquor and weapons to tattoo needles, explosives and tobacco -- are a result of overcrowding and pose a safety concern.

The Conservatives filed a freedom-of-information request to obtain the number of seizures for the past two years. In 2013, there were 430 seizures from seven provincial jails, while last year there were 418.

Goertzen noted the numbers have been consistent for the past couple of years.

Manitoba's auditor general said in a report last year the province's jails are operating at 126 per cent capacity, with Headingley and Milner Ridge bursting at the seams.

Goertzen said the province could make a big dent in the overcrowding problem by doing a better job of preventing repeat offenders.

"If you can reduce recidivism then obviously it takes the pressure off the jail system. We haven't seen any meaningful effort to reduce recidivism in the province of Manitoba," he said.

Justice Minister Gord Mackintosh said while contraband is "always a serious concern," the situation has not grown worse over the years.

He said there is no link between the amount of contraband seized in provincial jails and overcrowding.

"It's been relatively stable over time. It involves a very small percentage of the inmate population," Mackintosh said.

He said corrections staff tell him weapons do not make up a significant percentage of contraband items, which can include anything an inmate is not allowed to have. Some of the more common items, he said, include cellphones, tobacco, liquor and even too many bedsheets.


Advertise With Us

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us