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The Globe and Mail

Conservative crime bill would cost Ontario more than $1-billion

Image from inside the Toronto Jail on Feb. 24, 2011.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Ontario says the omnibus federal crime bill will cost the province's taxpayers more than $1-billion in increased police and correctional service costs.

Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur says there are about 8,500 inmates in Ontario correctional facilities, which are at 95 per cent capacity.

Ms. Meilleur warns the Conservatives' crime bill could add another 1,500 inmates to the system by 2016, pushing populations to 150 per cent of capacity at some jails.

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She says the province now faces the very real possibility of having to build a new 1,000 bed facility to offset the impact of Bill C-10, with an estimated capital cost of $900-million.

Ms. Meilleur also notes the federal legislation will increase the number of people on parole, adding to the caseloads for probation and parole officers.

Quebec and Newfoundland also say Bill C-10 will overwhelm their already maxed-out court systems and create a costly influx of prisoners to provincial jails. Several other provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick, support the federal changes.

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