B.C. Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth (centre) gets a tour of the lobby of Okanagan Correctional Centre Friday afternoon. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

B.C. solicitor general pays Okanagan jail a visit

Mike Farnworth said bolstering staffing at the jail, and other jails, is one of his priorities

B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general says the government is looking to bolster its staffing at Okanagan’s jail, acknowledging there have been issues with ratios of inmates to jail guards.

Mike Farnworth made his first appearance at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, the province’s newest jail, on Friday before speaking to media in the lobby of the building.

“It’s something that is a priority for me as solicitor general, and it is something that we’re working on,” Farnworth said of employment and retention at OCC.

“If you go around here, you’ll see banners saying ‘We are hiring,’ and these are good jobs here in the Okanagan, but in other parts of the province, so if people are looking for an opportunity for a good-paying, steady job, this is certainly one.”

In terms of retention, Farnworth acknowledged wage disparities with other law enforcement agencies, such as police and federal prison guards, were part of the issue.

“Contract bargaining will be taking place,” he said, adding the current union contract runs through to 2019, laying the blame for lower wages on previous governments. “There is a discrepancy (with other agencies) and contracts have been negotiated by previous governments, both at the provincial level and the federal level.”

Farnworth also spoke to recent measures to combat illicit drugs in the jail, saying though the addition of full body scanners to the jail had not fully plugged the flow of drugs into the site, he believed it helped.

“People are always creative, but from what I’ve heard, what I know and what I’ve read about body scanning at the same place that it has dropped it significantly,” he said. “It’s very impressive system that is here, but people will always try and find their way around (it).”


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ballet Kelowna to kick off 16th season with pair of premiers

Fresh off performances in Beijing and Toronto, company will perform at KCT Nov. 16 and 17

LETTER: Support candidates who will assist cannabis industry

Cannabis has often provided extra income for fruit growers or paid the bills for students

COLUMN: Life is So Good: A biography to remember

George Dawson was African American at a time of great racial discrimination

Donation given to support youth

SADI receives funds from Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary

Rancher served on Summerland’s first council

J.R. Brown’s original home was in Trout Creek

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who is running in Summerland’s election?

Introducing you to the candidates asking for your vote on Oct. 20

CFL playoff picture still muddled heading into weekend action

League revealed last week no fewer than 64 potential playoff permutations

New monitoring of vessel noise impact on endangered whales announced

Federal government to monitor underwater ship and mammal noise in B.C.’s Salish Sea

Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Langley Township council hopeful wants to build one-person foul weather shelters for homeless

Man charged with attempted murder in Oliver back in court

Andrew Bradley Miller pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest and failure to appear in court

Interior Health urges public to get a flu shot

Health authority says it will help to stop the spread of influenza

Most Read