High-security Surrey jail cells to get HD 0
A plan to put HDTVs inside the Surrey Pretrial Centre’s new high-security cells will go ahead once the Ministry of Justice decides on the particulars of the proposal. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)
High-security cells in B.C. will be turning on LCD television sets in the future, as soon as the Ministry of Justice decides how it will source a seller for the high-definition devices.
B.C.’s Ministry of Justice withdrew its request to learn the cost of adding 352 LCD televisions at Surrey Pretrial Centre Tuesday — just a day after 24 hours had asked why the purchase was necessary.
The ministry decided the post was erroneous, saying the call asked for too many TVs and the screens were too large. But that doesn’t mean inmates in high-security cells won’t be able to watch Prison Break, as the plan will eventually go ahead, said officials.
Initially, the ministry sought prices for 330 televisions between 21.5 and 24 inches in size. Another 22 televisions of 32 inches in width were detailed in the request, which lists 11 specifications, including high-definition resolution of at least 720p and built-in stereo speakers.
“The TV sets were intended for installation as part of the newly expanded area of the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre,” Marnie Mayhew, BC Corrections spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“We appreciate you bringing it to our attention as we identified some errors in the posting … For instance, the number and size of the TVs requested in the bid was more than what is actually required at the centre.”
The TVs, and cable and satellite packages, are paid for by the Inmate Benefit Fund, at no cost to the public.
Surrey Pretrial Centre is currently undergoing a $90-million upgrade, including 216 new high-security cells and 100 new staff.
Dean Purdy, B.C. Government and Employees’ Union corrections component chair, said the jail currently has a ratio of one guard per 38 inmates, but the upgrade would change that to an officer per 72 inmates.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of officers. We’d like to see resources go towards staffing, and have proper staffing levels and have proper safety protocols,” Purdy said.
He did, however, acknowledge television sets in each high security cell play the role of unofficial “babysitter” to those within.