William Head institution expects to see growth

Plans include more inmates and the possibility of more incarcerated people working outside the prison

Predicting the future of William Head Institution includes more inmates and the possibility of more incarcerated people working outside the prison, says Dave Clouston, deputy warden of William Head Institution.

The facility has space to hold up to 200 inmates at a time, but for the past nine years only about 120 inmates are held at the facility.

“Over the next few years we anticipate an increase in inmates,” Clouston said.

As a federal institution all the offenders have varying sentences spanning from two years to life.

“In minimum security they are usually getting prepared for release,” Clouston said. “They are a lower risk to the community, but that is not to say they are low risk.”

Getting inmates ready for release entails escorted trips into the community for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, counseling, family funerals and work experience.

“We are seeking to find more employment opportunities for inmates,” Clouston said.  “So when they get out they can compete for employment.”

The District of Metchosin hired inmates to paint the exterior of the municipal hall in 2010. It was one of the first jobs for inmates, said Clouston.

“They got paid minimum wage which is more money than they make (working) in the prison,” Clouston said.

AA and NA meetings are also offered internally at the facility along with sex offender maintenance and anger management programs.

William Head Institution and federal prisons across the country are working on plans to help aid inmates with mental health needs.

“In our institution offenders need to cook and clean for themselves,” Clouston said explaining the importance of inmates mental health and communication skills.


About a quarter of the population at the institution is First Nations. The prison offers the Pathways program teaching traditional native ceremonies including sweat lodges and fasting. A Coast Salish and Nuu-cha-nulth elder both work at the prison.



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