Redacted report not the first time B.C. Liberals have hidden prison safety info

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barbed-wire-960248_1920VICTORIA— Christy Clark’s Liberal government needs to stop hiding the full story on safety conditions in our province’s prisons, say the B.C. New Democrats.

“When correctional officer staff requested the first draft of a report by Liberal MLA Laurie Throness into prison violence, they were told no such draft existed. When they appealed, they were handed a heavily edited version of the report. Despite the redactions, it is easy to tell that the final report from Throness was watered down before it was released to the public,” said B.C. New Democrat MLA Kathy Corrigan.

“This is another example of Premier Clark’s attitude towards Freedom of Information laws: delete, delete, delete and deny, deny, deny. What is even more unbelievable is that the Christy Clark government wrote the report themselves and still felt the need to redact it.

“This is an important issue, and British Columbians deserve to hear the full story.”

Corrigan said this is not the first time Christy Clark’s Liberal government has tried to hide information about conditions in B.C. prisons. A 2012 Freedom of Information request by the B.C. New Democrats led to the accidental release of embarrassing information about prison overcrowding.

“This material was clearly intended for deletion, but was accidentally released to us. This mistake revealed that the government’s plans would not come anywhere close to meeting the need for increased prison capacity,” said Corrigan.

“If this was what Christy Clark’s government was trying to hide in 2012, what are they trying to hide today? People in this province, and particularly the men and women working in our prisons, deserve to know.”

A January 2015 report by the Auditor General showed that British Columbia’s prisons are still well over capacity on average at 140 per cent and warned the government that this was causing safety risks.