Canadian jails charging prisoners more rent


More Canadian prisoners who earn money through work programs will have their income deducted for room and board.


Kevork Djansezian

Rent is increasing inside Canadian jails in the latest tough-on-crime measure introduced by the country’s conservative government, the Globe and Mail reported today.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews outlined initiatives that will save the federal government $10 million annually, including eliminating porn from TVs and charging inmates for phone calls.

“All too often, victims have told us they feel the criminals have all the rights,” a statement from Toews said.

Now, Canada pays inmates anywhere from $1 to $6.90 per day in exchange for working on the inside; the most any Canadian prisoner earns it $69 per week.

Starting next year, prisoners who earn the most will pay 30 percent of that income toward room and board.

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Among the other restrictions is removing channels from a Nova Scotia prison that showed pornography, the National Post said.

The medium-security Springhill Institution will remove the offending stations, although there was no explanation of exact channels or programs.

“I recently discovered that some inmates had access to porn in prison on their TV’s. I have put an end to this unacceptable practise,” Toews tweeted today.

Canada also plans to eliminate incentive pay that encourages inmates at accept jobs in laundries and construction, for example, The Canadian Press said.

However, prison jobs are in great demand, Toews said, and there’s no need to pay prisoners more to take them.

That’s why the minister wants to create more opportunities for inmates to work by transferring all canteen jobs to them.

Inmates operate about 85 percent of Canadian prison canteens, and Toews wants to transfer the remainder to them next year.

“These measures are tangible steps forward to hold criminals to account,” Toews said.

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