Canadian penitentiaries will struggle to cope with the projected surge in inmates, and existing problems of prison overcrowding and violence will only worsen under new sentencing laws, according to the federal prison watchdog.
"We could see thousands of new admissions in federal penitentiaries over the next five years and I can tell you right now that the service does not have the capacity to deal with that. They do not have the space, they do not have the people, they do not have the programs," Howard Sapers warned Wednesday.
The correctional investigator noted that federal plans to double-bunk more prisoners could pose a particular danger for staff and inmates, judging from experiences in other countries that have shown that there is more violence when prisoners, many of whom are mentally ill, are forced to share cells.
Sapers also questioned whether Canadian taxpayers are getting value for their money with the additional billions of dollars the federal government is expected to spend to imprison more offenders and to keep them there longer.
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