Canadian Correctional Services Rent-A-Con Program
Federal prison guards are raising the red flag on a Corrections Canada program that quietly pays convicted murderers to supervise prisoners on community outings or transfers.
The Lifeline program hires “lifers” who have been paroled for at least five years, but remain under community supervision for life, to carry out “in-reach” socialization programs and escort inmates on shopping trips or transfers to half- way houses.
Through contracts with community agencies such as the John Howard Society or St. Leonard’s Society, the Correctional Service of Canada pays $55,000 a year for each of the 24 workers across the country.
According to the CSC, each lifer draws a salary of at least $41,000 a year [emphasis mine -ed], with the rest covering administration costs.
“It’s like giving the key to the prison to the convicts,” said Sylvain Martel, president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.
One prison guard source from Ontario’s minimum-security Pittsburgh Institution said the in-reach worker there accompanies inmates to the mall or lunch at Red Lobster, and escorts convicts to halfway houses across the province. Because they’re “peers” instead of authority figures, the door is open to potential criminal activity or escape.
“It’s atrocious,” the guard said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
CSC spokeswoman Michele Pilon-Santilli insisted the program is valuable for teaching responsible citizenship and said only “minor incidents” have been reported.
Add this to the infamous Ferndale Golf and Resort Prison, the $700,000 CCS “pilot program” to provide prison tattoos (pick your gang affiliation from the samples on the wall!), spa days for women inmates and the unbelievable policy that prohibits prison guards from carrying weapons of any type when escorting dangerous inmates in public – the only question remaining is why even more Canadians aren’t killing to get a piece of it.