A man with a lengthy history of crime successfully argued himself out of KRCC and into a federal prison for a longer sentence, something he said is a bid to get help.
Leon Muir, who turns 30 on Saturday, pleaded guilty to forging a signature on a credit card that was not his. The credit card was stolen in April this year from a car. Muir used it to buy gas, cigarettes and a lottery ticket.
Muir is already behind bars at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre for an unrelated property offence. He was sentenced in May to two years prison, less a day.
Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone recommended a five- to six-month jail term for the credit card fraud, to be served at the same time as his current sentence.
But Muir and his lawyer, Jeremy Jensen, asked judge Stephen Harrison to instead levy a six-month maximum term — on top of the time to which he’s already sentenced.
Any sentence of two years or more must be served in a federal prison.
Jensen said he tried to counsel Muir out of the move, calling it the first time a client has ever asked for more jail time.
“He’s unequivocal that a federal sentence is his best option.”
Muir has a lengthy criminal record for property and violent offences encompassing “his entire adult life,” Jensen said.
“I’ve been in the provincial system for years,” Muir said, after he was asked by Harrison to speak.
“Nothing works for me there. Nothing happens. When I’m released, funding isn’t there.”
Muir argued there is better access to psychologists and psychiatrists in federal jail and well as programming. He said there is also housing support after inmates are released on parole.
“I’m going to get in the federal system so I can get the help I need there.”
Harrison said Muir “articulated good reasons” for the longer sentence, which he granted.
By opting for the six-month sentence and federal jail, Muir will effectively get no credit for the time he’s spent since May at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
Dawn Hrycun, executive director of John Howard Society in Kamloops, predicted Muir will get more help in federal jail, based alone on the time he will now spend there.
A longer federal sentence mean there is more time for counseling in jail.
KRCC is at double its designed inmate capacity. But there is not a doubling of assistance, Hrycun noted.
“Institutions are so full that not everyone can get access to programming,” she said.
“In one way what he’s saying is true… . They’ve (KRCC) got more beds than what they can provide programming for.”
Hrycun also said there has been a breakdown in connections between provincial jails and community services helping offenders in and out of jail since the B.C. Liberals took office a decade ago.
In some cases, Hrycun said offenders argue for federal time because they have friends in those prisons.