Toews says prison population has not increased despite new tough-on-crime laws
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews pauses during a news conference after a meeting about Bill C-42, legislation to amend the RCMP Act, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012 2:46PM EDT
WINNIPEG - Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says predictions of an explosion in the prison population are not coming true.
Toews says the country's inmate population stood at just under 15,000 as of June 30 -- almost 3,000 below what was estimated a few years ago by the Correctional Service of Canada.
Toews says the numbers refute opposition suggestions that the government's tough-on-crime laws would put a lot more people behind bars.
Toews says the lower-than-expected numbers will allow the government to spend almost $1.5 billion less over the next seven years by not building new prisons.
Ottawa has already announced it is closing two older prisons, but adding 2,700 more beds to existing jails.