Keep of Prisoners Cost

Justice and Protective Services


Endorsed by the NCLGA and UBCM Memberships


WHEREAS Corrections BC has an annual budget of $4.3 million dollars per year that has a fixed quarterly budget of $1.075 million to reimburse RCMP detachments for all provincial prisoners kept in locally owned RCMP buildings;

AND WHEREAS this funding allocation per prisoner fluctuates in accordance to the number of prisoners kept each quarter (most recent average reimbursement of $6.63 per prisoner per hour) and does not reflect the true operating cost to the local government for keeping these prisoners:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that NCLGA and UBCM request the Province of BC reimburse the full costs incurred in housing provincial prisoners that are held in locally owned RCMP detachment buildings.

Additional Information

UBCM Comments:

The UBCM membership has consistently endorsed resolutions requesting an increase in the reimbursement rate for the keep of prisoners (2008-B24; 2004-B5; 2003-A4).

UBCM has recently undertaken a member survey on Keep of Prisoner (KOP) costs in local government and will be preparing a report on this issue.

The Province in responding to the local governments concerns in 2008 indicated that the government was committed to ensuring services are delivered in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. To ensure that municipalities are equitably compensated, Keep of Prisoners agreements provide an hourly prisoner rate determined by dividing the total number of provincial prisoner hours into the annual Keep of Prisoner budget.

In addition to working to reduce the number of provincial prisoners in lock-ups through the use of video court appearances, revised prisoner transport schedules and increased hours of admission at regional correctional centres, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is working toward securing additional funding that will increase the Keep of Prisoner budget, thus increasing reimbursements to municipalities.

Background Information

Keep of Prisoner Costs - UBCM NEWS, March 2011, p. 6-7

Currently under the Keep of Prisoner (KOP) program the Provincial Government provides Local Government with funding to look after prisoners in municipal jails who are charged with a provincial offense. However the funding is not intended to cover the actual costs of keeping a prisoner in a municipal jail (i.e. wage costs, meal costs, cleaning and maintenance etc.). 

The present the Keep of Prisoner program (KOP) was implemented by the Provincial Government in 2002 and was part of a serious of provincial cutbacks introduced at that time. The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General stated that the Province was moving from a fee for service rate to a provincial prisoner rate, based on budget constraints. The intent was to establish an hourly or per diem reimbursement rate for all provincial prisoners once the information was available. The Province undertook to collect data for the purposes of determining the actual cost of keeping a prisoner in a municipal jail. 

The KOP rate is based on the total provincial prisoner hours per fiscal quarter divided into one quarter of the provincial prisoner budget. The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Corrections Branch Operating Budget is allocated a fixed amount for housing provincial police prisoners in municipal lockups. Also included in the budgetary allocation is a fixed amount (historical

average) from the provincial police budget to pay for housing provincial police prisoners in municipal lockups who were arrested outside municipal boundaries by provincial police force members. 

The payments under the Keep of Prisoner program also include reimbursement for federal prisoners housed in municipal facilities. The rate paid by the Federal Government for reimbursement will vary depending on the classification of the prisoner (i.e. immigration or corrections etc.). 

The rates paid by the Province under Keep of Prisoner have changed in 2004 in varied from $9.52 to $9.89 per hour. The reimbursement rate paid by the Province for the KOP program between 2007 and 2010 varied from $5.91 to $6.38. The federal rate for reimbursement of prisoners between 2007 and 2010 varied from $6.70 to $7.81. 

UBCM is collecting information from Local Governments on the actual costs of keeping a Provincial or Federal prisoner in a Municipal jail. The intent is to meet with the Province to discuss increasing the rate paid to Local Governments for looking after prisoners in municipal jails under the KOP program so that it covers the cost of providing the service.