They haven’t been as high-profile as a bid for freedom with spoons back in 2008, but there have been a number of recent escapes from Saskatchewan jails.
This year, the province has recorded eight escapes from secure youth custody and five from adult jail.
It’s the highest number since 2011. On average there are about two a year.
“We are seeing a bit of an increase this year and it is a question of why that is,” said Drew Wilby, spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice.
“Our role and responsibility is to look at, make those determinations, and respond accordingly.”
Calling the escapes “one too many,” Wilby explained the investigations don’t just look at each incident, but collectively as a whole to see what changes need to be made.
“We look at each one as an isolated incident, but from there we look at systemic challenges that may be in place,” Wilby said.
“Is the policy and procedures in place strong enough? If they are being followed, and if they are not, should we strengthen them?”
While some of the escapes have been while youths were on escorted leave, others have been from jails.
“We will look at infrastructure needs and what those requirements might be going forward to make sure that we have the right infrastructure in place to keep those offenders in the walls of our facilities,” Wilby said.
The investigations into this summer’s escapes are ongoing.
Saskatoon escape numbers
Police are still looking for 34-year-old Travis Clay Funk, who escaped from Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre Saturday afternoon.
Officials said Funk was in the exercise yard at the time, and an investigation is underway into whether he received outside help.
The incident marks the fourth escape from secure custody at the facility since April 1. That’s double the year total for 2015/16.
The Ministry of Justice tracks the number of incidents each year from April 1 to March 31:
- 2016/17: 4
- 2015/16: 2
- 2014/15: 0
- 2013/14: 0
- 2012/13: 1
—With files from Lisa Schick.