CBC News is reporting that the legendary Kingston Penitentiary will close down due to federal budget cuts. The prison houses some of Canada’s most notorious criminals (Paul Bernardo and Col. Russell Williams among them), and has been in operation since 1835.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is expected to give an announcement on prison closures Thursday afternoon. By the 2014-15 fiscal year, the federal government is aiming to cut $275 million out of the Correctional Services Canada (CSC) budget as part of its wider effort to balance the books in Ottawa. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a union that represents correctional facility workers, told the CBC that 28 people in Kingston were given notice Thursday that their jobs are in jeopardy. Another 31 people were notified at the Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que., which is also slated to close.
Even as these jails get shuttered, Ottawa is doling out money to expand about 30 other prisons, the Globe and Mail reports. The 2011-12 budget for CSC was about $3 billion, up 20 per cent from the previous year, mostly thanks to new the Conservatives’ Truth in Sentencing Act, which made it more difficult for inmates to seek parole.