William Head Institution, near Metchosin, has no manned guard towers but no escapes since 2013. (Wikimapia)

William Head fence debate a big deal out of nothing says officials

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns met with William Head warden Thursday

Concerns regarding the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) plans to change the fencing at the minimum security institution in Metchosin is alarmist and misplaced, according to Manj Toor of the John Howard Society.

The four-metre high, double perimeter fence had been installed when the federal prison was designated as a medium security institution but does not fall in line with the philosophy or configuration of any minimum security institution in the country.

“I think that CSC does a fantastic job of assessing individuals to ensure that, by the time they are allowed a transfer to a minimum security institution, they have undertaken programming and are no longer a risk to the community. These are men who, in many cases, are in the final stages before being released to the community and are at an institution like William Head to get re-acclimatized to managing household duties, managing a budget, and living within a community at the prison where they get accustomed to living with neighbours and room mates in a community environment.”

In response to what he characterized as sensationalized coverage of CSC’s plans at William Head, Toor explained that the real need in the community is to inform and educate the public about what a minimum security facility is all about, and how the program is designed to support a lower incidence of recidivism and increase the probability that men who have served out their sentence can become valuable members of society once more.

“Of course they committed crimes; sometimes very serious crimes. But people make mistakes and people change. CSC assesses these men very carefully and the men who are allowed to go to William Head are not the same men as those who may have been incarcerated many years earlier,” said Toor.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns agreed.

“I met with the warden this morning and we had a very good discussion about the situation. It’s pretty much a big deal being made out of nothing. The plan since William Head reverted to a minimum security institution back in 2003 was to remove the fence. It’s now just come to the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. The question is what kind of fence will replace it,” said Ranns.

“The truth is that the guard towers haven’t been manned since 2003 and the men could walk around the fence now if they wanted to, but don’t. The last escape was back in 2013 and before that, I’m not even sure.”

Ranns expressed full confidence in the program at William Head and acknowledged that the municipality regularly employs work release parties from the institution for work on civic and community programs.

“It’s a way for those men to give something back to society.”

After his Thursday meeting with the warden, Ranns noted no changes to the fence would happen until the warden and CSC had consulted with council.

“I really have a lot of respect for what goes on out there [at William Head] and the programs that they run. They’re preparing the men to re-join society and I think the very low recidivism rate they have shows that what they’re doing works,” Ranns added.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Thieves can’t steal Nanaimo’s tubbing spirit

Thieves pilfer motors, but good friends and hard work get tubbers back on course

BC Games ready to begin on Vancouver Island

More than 2,000 athletes will compete in 18 sports from Friday to Sunday in Cowichan

B.C. Supreme Court issues fire safety order for Discontent City

Discontent City has one week to comply with fire order

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face Cowichan challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and even ate blueberry pie on Day 3

EDITORIAL: Truth has to lead politicians online

The public deserves accountability and professionalism from its politicians

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

BC Games: Opening Ceremony from Laketown Ranch

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

Duncan residents escape Chemainus rollover with minor injuries

Three Duncan residents escaped with only minor injuries following a rollover on… Continue reading

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Scam arrives on Saanich senior’s doorstep

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Most Read