Ex-con dropoffs drying up: officials 0
QMI -It takes a village to raise a ruckus. In 2009, after a murder, rape and assault in a three-week period, a group of people began to talk about the fear they felt walking the streets in Barrie. Once business owners, residents and visitors said they no longer felt safe downtown, they got together to form the Barrie Downtown Neighbourhood Association to do something about it.
With Mayor Jeff Lehman and Ward 2 Coun. Lynn Strachan joining their ranks, and about 25 other neighbours, started questioning the number of former inmates from Penetanguishene's Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) dropped off at the Barrie bus shelter who never made it home.
After about a year of not hearing any answers, the group filled out a Freedom of Information Act request and to find out exactly how many ex-convicts were being dropped off in Barrie. It turns out they were right. There are about 1,248 freshly released prisoners from the CNCC each year. During the period between January 2009 and October 2010, 2,563 bus tickets were allocated at a cost of $114,689, but only 2,450 tickets were claimed. Now, instead of offering bus tickets to ex-convicts, they give out separate vouchers the bus driver rips in half; one part is sent back to the prison for their records. With more than 60 dropoffs who didn't make their connection two years ago, it's down to four or five a year who don't get on the bus, the downtown citizens were told.