Vocation programs help B.C. inmates find jobs

Province’s attorney general lauds programs designed to make prisoners employable upon release

British Columbia’s attorney general and minister of justice toured a couple of prisons this week to check out some of the work programs designed to give inmates the skills and confidence they need to find a job upon release.

Suzanne Anton spent time at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, Fraser Regional Correctional Centre and Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.

At Alouette, she visited the horticulture program where inmates learn skills from a master gardener. The program teaches women how to garden and operate a greenhouse, and the food they grow is used in meals served at the jail.

“As I’ve been able to see firsthand, the work programs at B.C.’s correctional facilities are helping to reduce reoffending and ultimately protect B.C. communities,” said Anton. “They inspire inmates to change their lives, gain new life skills and give back to others. All of these experiences will help them successfully reintegrate back into their communities.”

At the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, inmates can take bicycle technician training. They repair stolen bikes that haven’t been claimed, and those bikes are then donated to a non-profit organization that ships bicycles overseas.

Laurie Throness, parliamentary secretary for corrections, said the work and vocation skills programs “prepare inmates for the working world and give them knowledge and experience they can use with confidence to be employed after their release.”

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