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As prisons close, complaints of overcrowding rise
Inmates in Canada's federal prisons have been sleeping in trailers, interview rooms, family visiting spaces and gymnasiums, while the percentage of prisoners sharing cells built for one has nearly doubled in under three years, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The documents, obtained from access to information requests, suggest a penal system stretched to capacity. Canada's prison population has been rising since 2005 after years of steady decline, growing 7 per cent between March 31, 2011 and May 1, 2012.
Part of the latest increase can be attributed to the government's tough-on-crime agenda. At the same time, the government will lose 1,000 beds after it closes aging penal facilities such as Kingston Penitentiary and Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que., but says it will more than make up the difference with new units.