Wilkinson Road Jail has been given two male goats expected to provide weed-control and animal therapy for inmates.
The goats were donated by an employee who is moving, said Chilliwack MLA Laurie Throness, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections.
“The goats are going to eat the weeds and blackberry bushes around the perimeter of part of the institution,” Throness said.
Thistle and Bramble are expected to reduce the potential for injury to staff and inmates, who formerly maintained the steep banks on the grounds.
Hay has been donated and the inmates helped build a little house for the ruminants with material that was donated by the John Howard Society.
Staff will take care of feeding the goats and getting them out to pasture and back, but inmates will assist with grooming and cleaning the goat pen as part of the jail’s work programs.
Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre facility houses as many as 400 male inmates and is staffed by 185 officers.
Throness has visited all nine B.C. correctional facilities and notes that the vast majority of inmates — 89 per cent — are serving sentences of less than 60 days.
There are about 22,000 former inmates under supervision in B.C. communities and about 2,500 in custody, half of whom are there because they did not make bail but have not been convicted.