In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Cutbacks Close Prisons in Alberta and Newfoundland

Cutbacks in both Alberta and Newfoundland are leading to the closure of prisons.

ALBERTA

The Alberta government plans to close several minimum security jails. Five work camps for prisoners will be closed, along with farming operations at three jails.

They also introducing more privatization into the prison system. They plan to hire a private security firm to do spot checks on parolees, people serving conditional sentences and people out on bail.

The Lethbridge Young Offenders Centre will be closed and the youth moved to Calgary. This will make it harder for friends and family to visit the youth.

The closures are a part of the recommendations the province has accepted from a Conservative committee who reviewed the prison system. The primary motivator for the changes was to save money. The cuts will save $3 million.

They also plan to start a pilot program to use electronic monitoring bracelets on people who serve their sentences at home.

NEWFOUNDLAND

The conservative government in Newfoundland is in the full Neo-Liberal swing of things. The recent provincial budget came with cuts to many social services, and also to prisons.

The Salmonier prison, once know as the prison farm will close. It is a minimum security dormitory style prison.

Also in Newfoundland, a 10-bed unit at the Whitbourne youth centre is being closed because the population of youth in prison has gone down.

Similar to BC, these cuts are affecting minimum security prisons. Also, it does not appear that the saved costs will be put into community release programs. Though still not clear, the prisoners will most likely end up in higher security prisons, with less programs and movement.

stjohns.cbc.ca