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Most Okanagan Correctional Centre inmates sent back to their communities: Report

Penticton council requested info about what communities inmates were being let out to
The Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver. (Western News - File)

The majority of people released from Okanagan Correctional Centre are sent back to their communities, according to information set to be shared with Penticton city council on March 21.

The request for records was one of the first motions put forward during the new council’s term in November, 2022 to find out how many individuals are released from jail into Penticton.

The city filed a Freedom of Information request after sending a letter to the Ministry of Public Safety and Attorney General for records from OCC. Coun. Helena Konanz made the motion to do some fact-finding to see if Penticton’s uptick in crime is connected to the close proximity of the jail.

According to those records, 36 per cent or 263 of the 716 inmates released in 2022 were released in communities that weren’t where their court cases were held.

Those include cases that were held in Vernon, Kelowna, Princeton and Vancouver among other court locations.

READ MORE: Where are people from Okanagan Correctional Centre let out? Penticton councillor seeks answer

It also includes cases that were transferred out of province or into federal custody as well as individuals who were transferred to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital or other treatment centres.

Of cases that were released to Penticton from other courts, the reasons for their release were included in the records. Only three were listed simply as requests to be dropped off in Penticton, with one also having an attached note that the RCMP had been made aware.

Three individuals, two from Kelowna and one from Vernon, were released into the Discovery House program.

Ten individuals reported to parole in Penticton, one from Kamloops, seven from Kelowna, one from Abbotsford and one from Vancouver.

One Victoria individual was released in Penticton in order to pick up their vehicle from the impound lot.

One individual was released in Kelowna, despite having gone through court in Vernon due to a No-Go order for Vernon.

One Kelowna individual was released into the RCMP’s custody while at Penticton Regional Hospital.

One individual from Kelowna was released into Penticton because they had housing arranged.

Five Kelowna, one Williams Lake and one Burnaby residents were released in Penticton over 2022 because they reported to be residents of Penticton.

A number of Penticton cases were also released to other communities, whether it was because the individual was a resident of another community in the South Okanagan such as Oliver or Keremeos, or because they were released at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver.

The report and records will be shared with city council at their meeting on March 21. At their November 2022 meeting, council had also requested a meeting with the warden at OCC. Members of council met with the warden and toured OCC on Jan. 18.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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