Two inmates who walked away from a Bowden prison farm may be among the last prisoners to enjoy the freedom offered by the annex.
Innisfail RCMP and Corrections Canada officials are still hunting for the two men who walked away from the annex sometime late Monday.
Staff Sgt. Lyle Marianchuk of Innisfail detachment said Tuesday that Tod James Purvis, 42, and Nathan Mario Paolinelli, 28, left the annex of the minimum security farm sometime around 10 p.m.
Both escapees were serving sentences of about four years for a variety of offences.
The annex is due to be phased out in the next 15 months.
Purvis is serving a four-year sentence for possession of stolen goods, possession of drugs and drunk driving. His sentence commenced June 24, 2008.
Paolinelli, from the Calgary area, is serving a sentence of three years, eight months, for offences relating to fraud, theft and American counterfeit money. His sentence started Oct. 10, 2008.
He was busted in what was called the largest seizure of U.S. counterfeit bills in more than 20 years in Western Canada in Lethbridge last year. In July 2007, Lethbridge police recovered $170,000 in phoney U.S. currency and $4,000 in forged Canadian cash, as well as counterfeiting equipment during a seizure at a hotel.
The offenders are rated low risk for public safety.
Prison authorities will investigate to determine what things can be done to improve security.
The farm annex does not have fences and is considered a part of Bowden Institution.
Prisoners earn the right to live and work on the farm generally when they near the end of their sentences.
Corrections Canada is expected to close the doors on the compost facility and other farm projects as part of its plan to phase out its six prison farm operations across Canada by March 2011.
The farm operations were run by CORCAN, a rehabilitation program run by Corrections Canada.
The government decided to close the prison farms after a 2008 strategic review of the program that cost $4 million annually.
The farms were meant to teach inmates useful job skills but the strategic review found relatively few offenders were able to apply their farm skills in the workplace.
Besides the compost facility, Bowden farm inmates perform equipment maintenance, run a feedlot and some field crop production. About 40 inmates and five staff work on the farm.
Purvis is from the Red Deer area and is described as being 1.8 metres (five feet, 11 inches) tall and weighing 77 kg (169 pounds). He has brown hair and blue eyes. He wears tattoos on his back, left arm and chest.
Paolinelli is 1.8 metres (five feet, 11 inches) tall and weighs 82 kg (180 pounds). He has brown hair and brown eyes.
The prison has experienced a few escapes lately including a high profile offender who was serving a 20-year sentence. He was recaptured and received another 20 months for his breakout last month.
The annex also had at least two inmates walk away from the facility last year. Both were captured in short order and received additional jail time.
Bowden Institution has a population count of 564 medium security inmates and 78 minimum security inmates.