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


Just Posted

Bike sharing program rolls into Saanich

According to staff, U-Bicycle plans to make between 75 and 100 bicycles available in Saanich.

Large fire destroys home on McClure Street in Victoria

Fire crews dispatched to the 1100-block shortly before noon Monday

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Two puppies snatched from East Sooke home

Anyone with information asked to contact Sooke RCMP

New leader aims to grow Oak Bay Volunteer Services

About 200 volunteers offer about 500 residents with support services

Comox Valley Valley lotto ticket worth $2 million

Someone who purchased a lottery ticket in the Comox Valley was chanelling… Continue reading

Mayor says it could take “years” to replace EDPA

Mayor Richard Atwell said it will take Saanich “years” to replace a… Continue reading

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Man dies in crash on Island Highway

Man thrown from his vehicle, alcohol believed to be a factor in accident near Parksville

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Most Read