There has been a concerning number of inmate escapes from the Saskatchewan Penitentiary this year.
Since July, there have been five escapes, with one in January bringing the total number in 2015 to six. All escaped inmates have since been recaptured.
According to news releases from Correctional Service Canada, there was only one escape in 2014, and none in 2013.
“Each one is subject to an investigation. We look at all of the available information to make sure that the safety of the public is maintained,” Corrections Canada communications manager Jeff Campbell said.
Even though the number seems to have risen, Campbell said they haven’t found a connection.
“(We) haven’t heard of any information of any linkages. It just so happens that some of the inmates have decided this is the way to go, but there are certainly consequences for people who leave in an unauthorized manner,” said Campbell.
According to Campbell, escaped inmates could find themselves in higher-security levels following their recapture.
Although he could not pinpoint an exact cause for the number of escapes this year, Campbell noted the escapes often happen with inmates in minimum security.
All escapes have been from the minimum-security unit.
“Part of the reason behind having a facility like that is to encourage the inmates to have a sense of responsibility,” said Campbell. “They’re getting ready to be released into the community in most cases. Therefore they take on more responsibility for themselves … they’ve been assessed as minimum security, so a low risk to public safety and can be maintained in that sort of environment.”
Inmate escapes by the numbers 2014-15
Nov. 1, 2015 – Jesse McMullen; Recaptured Nov. 1, 2015
Oct. 5, 2015 – Hector Bird; Recaptured Oct. 19, 2015
Sep. 2, 2015 – Christopher Spark; Recaptured Sept. 2, 2015
Sep. 2, 2015 – Dallas Lee Jebb; Recaptured Sept. 2, 2015
July 26, 2015 – Lawrence Sewap; Recaptured July 28, 2015
Jan. 7, 2015 – Kevin Sheets; Recaptured Jan.8, 2015
April 10, 2014 – Jessie Neault; Recaptured April 10, 2014