Pubdate: Wed, 03 Mar 2010
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Terrace Standard
Author: Kat Lee


THE CITY is banking on the federal government sending more people to
jail for longer periods of time if its hope of an economy-boosting
jail here is to be realized.

A city co-sponsored feasibility study lists three pieces of
legislation the federal government wants passed, each one of which
would result in more people headed for federal jail cells.

One piece of legislation calls for minimum sentences for serious drug
cases, another would end the practice of lopping off two days for
every day a person is sentenced if that person has been in jail since
first arrested and another would impose mandatory jail time for fraud.

The new sentence requirements could boost the federal jail population
by 70 per cent, the study suggests.

The $4,000 study, cost shared fifty-fifty between the city and
Northern Development Initiative (NDI) Trust, also quotes a newspaper
article citing a federal plan to spend nearly $500 million on jails
between 2011 and 2013.

City council and NDI commissioned the study last fall.

NDI chief executive officer Janine North said that while it doesn't
tell any municipality what ideas to explore, it will help provide more

NDI is a regional economic development corporation that aims to
stimulate economic diversification and job creation in the region.

"Terrace is a community that is looking how to diversify and expand
its tax base," she said, pointing out that a provincial jail in Prince
George has had a positive economic impact for that community.

The Terrace feasibility study forecasts a facility holding 400
prisoners would cost $170 million to build and have an annual
operating budget of $42 million.

A location has already been picked out - 15 to 20 hectares within the
proposed airport lands industrial park.

"As we see the industry base should explore other
options that aren't as cyclical," North said.

The study also says that a facility located in rural northern B.C.
would allow inmates to stay near their home communities, and points
out that technology makes it easier for inmates to receive sentencing,
visitations, and specialized counselling services through video links.

"In B.C., there certainly has been some controversy over the past
couple of years of communities wanting or not wanting correctional
facilities in the Lower Mainland," North said.

"I think that in the north, we tend to be more open to exploring a
fact base before saying 'not in my backyard.' And with recent changes
federally, and with money that is in provincial and federal budgets
targeted in the next several years for new's a
reasonable question to ask how they impact the economy."

Terrace mayor Dave Pernarwoski raised the prospect of a federal jail
in a presentation to provincial politicians in Victoria recently.

And Terrace city council recently invited Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin
to a meeting, requesting his help in lobbying the federal government
for such a facility.

For his part, Austin said it is best to start with Skeena-Bulkley
Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

Austin later said he'd be in a better position to assist if the city
wanted a provincial jail.

There was a provincial jail here but it was closed as a provincial
cost-saving measure in 2002.

Austin said it made no sense to close the jail because it provided
jobs and kept inmates close to families.

The city has now asked Cullen for a meeting to take place later this

The following is the feasibility study prepared by the Northern
Development Initiative Trust and the City of Terrace on the prospect
of building a federal prison here.

The study is entitled, The Economic Impact of a Rural Correctional
Facility. An Opportunity for Terrace, British Columbia.

Executive Summary

The construction of a new correctional  facility in Terrace, BC would
provide socio-economic  benefits  directly  to  the  community  and
surrounding  areas.  Not  only  will  the  economy  benefit  from
jobs created for construction and operating within the community, but
the sociological benefits of interning prisoners near their
communities and families should not be discounted.

There  is  a  foreseeable  increase  in  sentence  terms  and  numbers
  of inmates  which  will  necessitate additional  inmate  capacity.
Currently there  is  insufficient  capacity  to  absorb  any
significant  increase in  inmate  populations.  Existing  public
opinion  is  against  increased prisoner  capacity  to  be  built  in
high density population centres and future locations should in
communities that support the undertaking.

The  community  of  Terrace  has  expressed  interest  and  support
as  a location  of  a  future  correctional  facility.  An
appropriate  location has  been  identified  for  construction  of  a
new  correctional facility.  The  economic  impact  of  a  new
facility  within  the community  would  be  approximately  $170
million  in construction costs with an annual operating budget of $42

Over  a  20  year  period,  the  construction  and  operations  of  a
new correctional  facility  in  Terrace  would  have a direct economic
impact of $862 million.


The  construction  of  new  correctional  facilities  is  required  to
support  expected  increased  inmate  populations  in  the  next
three  to five  years.  The  placement  of  new  facilities  should
be  in  locations and communities  that  support  them.

This  makes  it  easier  to  move  forward  with  the  facilities and
provides significant economic opportunities for those

This  report  examines  the  basis  for  new  correctional
facilities,  the economic  impact  from construction and operations,
and the overall benefit to Terrace, a rural community in Northern
British Columbia.


A  number  of  bills  introduced  by  the  federal  government  in
the House  of  Commons  are  expected  to  be  passed  into  law.
These  bills are  expected  to  have  an  impact  on  inmate
population  in  both federal  and  provincial correctional facilities.

Bill C-15: Minimum Sentences

On February 27, 2009 the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Robert
Nicholson, introduced in the House of  Commons Bill  C-15  to  amend
the Controlled  Drugs  and  Substances  Act  (Library  of Parliament,

Bill  C-15  seeks  to  amend  the  Controlled  Drugs  and  Substances
Act ("CDSA")  and  thereby  the  Criminal  Code  to  impose  minimum
sentences for  certain  serious  drug  offenses  such  as  dealing
drugs  for organized crime purposes or when a weapon or violence is

Bill  C-15  specifically  mentions  that  in  2006/07  that
approximately fifty  percent  of  all  drug-related  court cases  do
not  result  in convictions  and  convictions  rarely  result  in
sentencing incarceration.  The  majority  of  offenders  only  receive
  probation. This  data  has  drawn  the  conclusion  that  there  are
not  sufficient penalties defined in the CDSA to act as a dete rrent.

Currently  the  CDSA  does  impose  maximum  penalties  for  drug
offences but  there  are  currently  no  mandatory  minimum  penalties
  for  drug related  offences.  Primarily  the  CDSA  offences  include
  possession, "double  doctoring,"  trafficking,  importing  and
exporting,  and production  of  substances  denoted within the CDSA.

Bill C-25: Credit for Time Served

On  March  27,  2009  the  Minister  of  Justice  also  introduced  in
  the House  Bill  C-25  to  amend  the  Criminal  Code  to  limit  the
  credit  a judge  may  allow  for  any  time  spent  in
pre-sentencing  custody (Library  of  Parliament,  2009b).  This
limit  is  meant  to  reduce  the "credit  for  time  served"  and
impose  longer  incarceration periods. Bill C-25 is also known as the
Truth in Sentencing Act.

Currently  the  Criminal  Code  allows  the  courts  to  take  into
consideration  time  spent  in  pre-sentencing  custody.  According
to  the Criminal  Code  the  court  is  not  required  to  do  so;
however  the Supreme  Court  of  Canada  has  the  opinion  that
courts  must  justify any  reason  for  not  reducing  sentences  by
taking  into  account pre-sentencing custody time (R. v. Wust, 2000).

This  has  resulted  in  the  majority  of  cases  whereby  sentencing
convictions  are  reduced  by  double  or,  in  some  jurisdictions,
triple time  spent  in  pre-sentencing  custody.  This  has  provided
an incentive  for  in-custody  accused  expecting  to  be  convicted
to maximize  the  pre-sentencing  custody  timeframe  to  ultimately
minimize the  resulting  incarceration  time.  The  changes
introduced  in  Bill C-25  will  result  in  a  one  day  for  one
day  recognition  of pre-sentencing  custody  or  in  rare  occasions
one  and  one-half  days when pre-sentencing custody is determined to
have circumstances that warrant greater recognition.

Bill C-52: Mandatory Jail Sentence for Fraud

On October 21, 2009 the Minister of Justice also introduced in the
House Bill C-52 to amend the Criminal  Code  (Sentencing  for  Fraud)
and creates  a  mandatory  jail  sentence  for  fraud  over  $1
million (Library  of  Parliament,  2009c).  Bill  C-52  is  also
known  as  the Retribution  on  Behalf  of  Victims  of  White  Collar
  Crime  Act.

The  aim  of  Bill  C-52  is  to  provide  restitution  for  victims
of large  scale  fraud  and  permit  the  courts  to  impose
mandatory  jail sentences  after  consideration  of  victim  and
community  impact statements.

Generally  these  impact  statements  will  provide  the  courts  with
additional  factors  when  considering  sentencing  such  as  the
financial and  psychological  impact  of  the  fraud  on  the
victim(s)  and  their resulting circumstances.

Inmate Population Implications

All of these bills will result in significant increases in prison
populations. The minimum increase for Bill C- 15  alone  is  expected
to be  10%  (Scoffield,  2009)  and  together  the  bills  have  the
possibility  of  increasing prison  populations  of  upwards  to  70%.

When  the  United  States  implemented  similar  sentencing

in 1985 there was an increase in prison populations over 15 years of
700% (Drucker, 1999).

The  volume  of  incarcerated  offenders  has  reached  critical
capacity, evidenced  by  inmate-to-cell occupancy levels averaging 185
per cent in provincial correctional facilities (Ministry of Public
Safety and  Solicitor General,  2009).  The  challenge  for  many  of
these  facilities  are that  they  were  constructed  in  1800s and
early 1900s, are expensive to maintain and difficult to increase
inmate capacity. It  has  been recommended  that  construction  of
mixed-use  regional  facilities  be constructed  to  both  deal  with
organic  prison  population  growth  and the  likely  results  of  a
tough  on  crime  political  approach.

These  mixed-use  facilities  would  incorporate  distinct  minimum,
medium,  and  maximum  security  areas  within  a  common  complex.
These regional  complexes  could  have  as  few  as  500  inmates  up
to  a maximum of 2,000 (Correctional Services Canada Review Panel,

The  regional  complexes  would  be  outfitted  with  advanced
technology to  permit  video  remand,  sentencing,  and  visitation.
The  benefit  of regional  complexes  is  a  model  of  more
effectively  correctional management  and  reduced  cost  as  inmates
would  not  be  required  to be  transported  for  court  hearings,
change  of  status  from  remand  to sentence,  or  to  facilitate

Additionally  population  density  within  a  facility  would  allow
inmates  to  access  a  broader  range  of  support  services  such
as physical  health,  mental  health,  drug  treatment  programs,  et
cetera without  being  required  to  be  transported offsite for
specialized support.

The  maintenance  of  inmates  within  the  same  regional  facility
from remand,  during  the  sentence,  and  reintegration  also  has
benefits  of improve  community  and  familial  relationships  and
support  to  improve quality of life issues (Canadian Families and
Corrections Network, 2007).

An  independent  review  commissioned  by  Correctional  Services
Canada conducted  by  Deloitte  &  Touche  suggested  that  moving
forward  with "business  as  usual"  methodologies  and  practices
should  not  be applied  to  the  regional  complex  model  and  "new
operating  approaches and  standards"  should  be  considered for this
new transformational business model.

Economic Impact Analysis

Correctional  facilities  have  a  significant  and  bone  fide
economic impact  on  the  communities  they  are  situated  within.
This  impact  is both  during  for  capital  and  operational
reasons.  Capital  reasons include  new  construction  and
infrastructure  maintenance.  Operational reasons  include  human
resources  and consumable supplies required to house the inmates.

Capital Investment Budgets

During  the  period  of  2008/09  through  to  2012/13  the  Province
of British  Columbia  initially  expected  to  construct  three
separate correctional  facility  projects  for  an  estimated  total
cost  of  $185 million  (Ministry  of  Public  Safety  and  Solicitor
General,  2009).

This  was  prior  to  the  three  bills  introduced  in  the  House
this year  which  will  likely  require  significant  capital
investment  across the  country  to  build additional correctional
facilities to house the increased inmate population.

The  federal  government  has  budgeted  $487.9  million  for
correctional facility  infrastructure  from  fiscal  2011  through  to
  fiscal  2013 (Curry,  2009).

It  is  projected  that  during  the  same  fiscal  periods  a
capital budget  of  $817.1  million  would  be  required  to  maintain
  existing infrastructure  and  build  incremental bed capacity
(Correctional Services Canada Review Panel, 2007).

For a minimum security cell the capital cost would be $200,000, for a
medium cell $400,000 and for a maximum cell, $400,000.

The mix would be 12 per cent minimum, 39 per cent medium and 49 per
cent maximum.

The  capital  cost  to  construct  a  regional  complex  is
attributed based  on  population  mix  and  ranges  from
approximately  $212  million to  $842  million  (Deloitte,  2007).
Based  on  the  lowest  range  of inmate population  increases,  a
minimum  of  3,600  additional  cells would  be  required  for  a
minimum  capital  cost  of $1.53 billion.

British  Columbia  houses  approximately  14.6%  of  the  federally
incarcerated  inmates  and  could  be  expected  to  invest  at  least
  $256 million  in  capital  correctional  facility  construction  in
the  next three  years to meet minimum inmate population increases.

Facility Operating Cost

Federal  and  provincial  data  suggest  a  consistency  of  2.06
inmates per  employee  in  correctional  facilities  (Correctional
Service  Canada, 2009;  van  Dongen,  2009).  It  is  uncertain  the
cost  of  inmate incarceration  as  there  is  a  disparity  of
operating  costs  across various  jurisdictions.  The  news  media
suggests  the  highest  cost  of $101,000  a  year  per  male  and
$185,000  a  year  per  female  (Jones  & Pate,  2009)  which  is
assumed  to  be  a  maximum  security  cost. Financial  reports  from
Corrections  Services Canada  suggest  a b lended average cost per
inmate of approximately $104,522 per year.

Ontario  statistics  suggest  incarceration  costs  ranging  from
$110,223 for  male  inmates  and  $150,867  for  female  inmates  in
maximum security  correctional  facilities  to  a  low  of  $70,000
for  medium and minimum security correctional facilities (Basen, 2006).

Terrace Opportunity

The  opportunity  exists  within  rural  Northern  British  Columbia
to construct  a  new  correctional  facility.  A new  facility
located  in rural  Northern  British  Columbia  would  be  in
alignment  with  the beneficial  effects  of  remanding  inmates  near
  their  home  communities. The  advent  of  technology  is  making  it
  easier  for inmates  to receive  sentencing,  visitations,  and
specialized  counselling  services through  video

It  is  proposed  that  a  facility  housing  approximately  400
inmates could  be  constructed  within  the community of Terrace in
Northern British Columbia.


The  community  of  Terrace  has  expressed  interest  in  exploring
the economic  impact  of  constructing  a  potential  correctional
facility  in the  community  to  support  the  growing  need  of  new
facilities  for inmates.    It  is  normal  practice  for  a
municipality  to  research information  on  new  initiatives  when
exploring economic opportunities.


The  proposed  location  for  construction  of  a  new  correctional
facility  location  is  in  a  planned  light industrial  near  the
Terrace Airport  (Figure  1).  The industrial  area  is  East  of
Highway  16  and comprises  approximately  114  hectares  of  land.
The  needs  for  the new correctional  facility  would  likely  be
between  15 and 20 hectares.

The  location  is  ideal  for  its  proximity  to  the  airport,  and
access  to  highway  37  for  transportation  purposes.

It  is  also  unlikely  there  would  be  any  opposition  to  the
location due  to  its  distance  from  residential

Construction Economic Impact

It  would  be  estimated  that  a  400  inmate  population
correctional facility  would  maintain  the  typical  housing
composition  of  minimum, medium,  and  maximum  inmates.  It  would
be  expected  that  total capital  construction  cost  would  be
approximately $170,000,000.00.

The  size  of  the  facility  would  be  approximately  280,000
square feet  of  floor  space.  The  construction  process  would
source  raw materials,  simple  fabricated  products,  and  skilled
labour  from  the local  community.  It  is  uncertain  how  much
those  portions  would comprise  of  the  approximate  construction
costs however it would be reasonable to assume that at least 20% of
total project costs.

According  to  the  Correctional  Service  of  Canada,  the  capital
construction  process  from  the  planning  stage  to  full
occupation  for a  new  facility  would  be  approximately  15  years.

This  period  is  considered  to  be  extremely  long  and
disproportionate of  the  typical  construction  period  of  large
capital projects. It would be expected that the time frame could be
reduced by approximately 60% to five years.

Operations Economic Impact

Utilizing  details  from  the  Correctional  Service  of  Canada  a
correctional  facility  in  Terrace  would  require a n annual
operating budget of approximately $42 million. This operating budget
encompasses all inmate  costs  and  facility  maintenance  costs.  Of
that  operating budget,  approximately  68%,  or  $28.5  million,  of
the  budget  is  for payroll  and  benefits  costs  which  are
primarily  spent  within  the local  community (Correctional Service
Canada, 2008).

Of  the  remaining  budget,  it  is  uncertain  how  much  of  the
operating  and  maintenance  costs  would  be  spent  within  the
local community.  It  is  reasonable  to  assume  that  a  portion  of
  the remaining  budget would be spent within the community of Terrace.


The  construction  of  a  new  400  inmate  correctional  facility  in
Terrace  would  provide  direct  economic  impacts  over  the  next
20 years  of  approximately  $862  million  dollars  assuming  an
annual inflation  rate  over  that  period  of  two  (2%)  percent.
The  support of  the  community  for  this  type  of  facility  would
also  ease  the process  and  provide  greater  involvement  with  the
  inmate  population and  their  families  to  improve the overall
quality of life and outcomes. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D