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Report finds local jail is most expensive

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The Fort Frances Jail has set records in the province of Ontario for being the oldest, at 110 years and smallest, with a capacity of just 22 inmates.

But now the jail is being recognized for having the highest daily cost per inmate in the entire province.

A new report from the province's Auditor General showed it costs an average of $589 per day to house an inmate here, compared to $186 in Kenora or $302 across Ontario.

However, Rainy River District Law Association president Douglas Judson explained there's a variety of factors that affect this cost.

“We wish to underscore that the proximity of the Fort Frances Jail to the courthouse, local law enforcement, and local legal counsel facilitates the timely and cost-effective disposition of criminal charges,” he noted.

"Without a local jail, the municipality would be required to cover the additional costs to transport inmates from facilities in Kenora or Thunder Bay.

“New costs would also fall to taxpayers as counsel retained on Legal Aid certificates would be required to travel greater distances to meet with their clients,” Judson added.

The Auditor General's report also shows the local jail has an average of just over 70 percent occupancy, while the province's target is 85 percent.

Meanwhile, the overall cost to house inmates in Ontario has increased significantly over the last decade.

The last report by the Auditor General was conducted in 2008 and found the average daily costs to house inmates was just $166, province-wide, which reflects an increase of 82 percent.

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