A candidate running for city council in Yellowknife is promising that if elected, he will send inmates from out of town back to their home communities once they are released from jail.
Beaton MacKenzie said it’s part of his plan to reclaim the downtown core. He added that it’s what business people want.
"They have people that [are] defacing on their buildings, or urinating, or they may be passed out. You walk into the public post office and you'll smell the alcohol, you may have somebody asleep on the floor. You have to walk over them to get to your post office," he said.
Under the N.W.T.’s Corrections Act, inmates are not forced to go back to their communities if they are not from Yellowknife. However, they do have the option to get transportation back to the place where they were convicted.
Blair VanMetre, warden of the North Slave Correctional Centre, said last year 68 per cent of the inmates who were released from the jail were from outside of Yellowknife, and only a handful of them requested to stay in the city.
"It's really been a non-issue," he said. "It's been less than one per cent which equates to under five people."
Kate Wilson, with the Yellowknife YWCA, said she doesn’t see much demand on housing from people who are recently released from jail.
She added that people can choose where they want to live.
"We cannot legislate or demand that people go, this is a free country, it's Canada. If I decide to go live where ever I want to go, so be it," said Wilson.
Wilson also said that Yellowknife has more educational opportunities and counselling options than most communities.