For years, newly released B.C. prisoners have used Greyhound to get home. What will happen now?
It’s a scene that’s been played out in many Hollywood movies — the prison gates open and a man slowly walks out onto a street, where a car is waiting for him.
Though unlikely, this scene could potentially come to life this fall at prisons across B.C., thanks to Greyhound’s decision to cancel all but one of its bus routes in Western Canada.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said that B.C. Corrections does use Greyhound in returning former prisoners to what’s called their “court of origin” within the province.
In an email to Global Okanagan, the Ministry said, “In practical terms, this means all inmates are provided with the means necessary to return home, or to another location that is considered reasonable or necessary, such as a treatment centre. For example, either taxi vouchers or bus tickets are provided, or inmates may be driven by staff in the local area.
“Community resources (drug and alcohol treatment services, family and friends) also frequently facilitate transportation for inmates upon release.”
The email also said, “With Greyhound’s announced cancellation of service in October 2018, B.C. Corrections is actively working on a contingency plan to address the transportation needs of released inmates who require bus service; however, it is too early to provide specifics.”
WATCH: What do Greyhound cancellations mean for British Columbians?
If Greyhound stays its course and government-funded bus service to rural communities proves to be wishful thinking, here are three questions that taxpayers, towns and cities with jails should ponder:
How will former prisoners get home?
Will those towns and cities be on the financial hook?
Should provincial governments, towns or cities be financially responsible for returning former prisoners to where they’re from?
On Tuesday, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena took questions from reporters in Victoria regarding Greyhound’s decision.
Of the questions she answered, Trevena said, “I’m going to be talking to my colleagues from across the country because this isn’t just a B.C. problem; it is a Western Canadian problem.
“So I’m going to be talking to them, I’m also going to be talking to private operators, going to be talking with B.C. Transit, we’re going to be looking at all the options available.”
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