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

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Thieves hit Oak Bay apartment storage lockers, parked cars

Oak Bay Police pull two prohibited drivers from the road

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read