Bowden prison staff finish up ‘exceptional search’

A lockdown of the Bowden Institution is expected to wrap up today as staff executed an “exceptional” search of the facility after an inmate was found in possession of an unauthorized item.

A lockdown of the Bowden Institution is expected to wrap up today as staff executed an “exceptional” search of the facility after an inmate was found in possession of an unauthorized item.

Rita Wehrle, Correctional Service Canada assistant warden at Bowden, said the search was not routine, necessitating the lockdown.

“A routine search, in accordance with the corrections and conditional release act, is a search we do based on a search plan that says so many times in a year we can search the institution for any number of things,” said Wehrle. “In an institutional setting, it makes sense that you would have a routine search of all areas.

“An exceptional search is when we have information, intelligence, an incident or something that has led us to conclude we need to search right now and look for the specific item.”

At about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the federal penitentiary initiated the lockdown after an unauthorized item was found. Staff decided to conduct the lockdown and search to find if more unauthorized items were in the facility.

Although she could not say what the item was, Wehrle said unauthorized items are different from contraband items.

“Typically it relates to personal property,” said Wehrle. “It is different from contraband, which is a more serious, alarming or concerning item. Unauthorized isn’t always a serious item, but it is something they are not allowed to have.”

Searches are conducted to ensure the safety and security of the institution, its staff and the inmates.

The institution will re-open as soon as the search is complete and it is determined safe to do so. Wehrle expected the search to wrap up today and have visits resume on Friday as regularly scheduled.

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