Saskatoon

Increased number of inmates costing Sask. $10M more per year

The province is looking for ways to reduce the number of inmates on remand, which make up about 60 per cent of the population in provincial jails.

Saskatchewan jails have 160 more inmates every day compared to 1 year ago

The province says an increased inmate population is having an impact on its finances. (CBC)

An increase in the number of inmates in Saskatchewan's jails is hitting the province in the pocket.

At the end of August, the average daily count for all facilities was 1,871 — up from the 1,710 count for the year before. That means there are about 160 more inmates behind bars every day in the province compared to one year ago.

With the average cost per inmate at approximately $62,000 per year, the province is having to pony up $10 million more annually.

Justice Minister Gord Wyant said the increased number of inmates in provincial jails is significant enough to impact the upcoming budget. (CBC)

Justice Minister Gord Wyant said the number is significant enough to impact the upcoming budget.

"There are things we can do. There are things we can explore," Wyant told reporters at the Saskatchewan Legislature Thursday.

Wyant explained that the ministry will be working with the courts and Crown prosecutors to have fewer inmates on remand in jail.

Inmates on remand make up about 60 per cent of the population in provincial jails.

"We need to find ways to reduce those remand numbers to make sure that we're only incarcerating people temporarily."

Wyant said some inmates on remand are not threats to public safety. Many are being held because they breached the conditions of their release.

With files from CBC's Adam Hunter.

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