Greyhound cuts impact jails

When Greyhound ceases its B.C. bus routes at the end of October, correctional officers in the province expect to be logging more miles to drive home inmates upon their release.

Okanagan Correctional Centre warden Steve DiCastri took questions at a forum on crime in Oliver this week, where he said jail staff at OCC are preparing for increased trips to return inmates home.

He said many inmates arrange to be picked up after their release, and currently, many who don't have a ride are driven to a bus station and provided a bus ticket. If no bus is available, DiCastri said staff will drive them back to their "court of origin."

Greyhound, currently the only long-haul bus service in many areas of the province, is cutting all of its western Canada operations on Oct. 31. It had already slashed some of its routes in rural areas of B.C. on May 31.

It's unclear what kind of ripple effect the bus closures could have on already-strapped correctional staffing levels. In a statement to Castanet, the Ministry of Public Safety said most inmates at the OCC in particular live in the Okanagan.

"For those who don’t live in the area, there are transportation alternatives in place to meet this need," spokesperson Cindy Rose said, adding, other than rides from jail staff, options include paying for a taxi or pick-up service from a treatment centre.

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