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Jailbird nabbed after fleeing BCC

How well-guarded are Iqaluit’s inmates?

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

AARON SPITZER

IQALUIT — A Baffin Correction Centre inmate who fled custody last week was caught by Iqaluit RCMP about 14 hours later.

Noah Shoviga, who slipped away during a community outing for inmates around 10 p.m. Sept. 21, was arrested without incident around noon the next day.

Shoviga disappeared while a group of prisoners was being escorted back to a BCC vehicle after attending an exercise program at Nakasuk School. His absence was noticed shortly thereafter.

Acting on a tip from an anonymous resident, police located Shoviga the next day at the home of an Iqaluit resident. They arrested him without incident.

Shoviga had been serving a 16-month jail sentence for sexual assault. He was due to be released in March.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Jeffrey said that when police learned of Shoviga’s escape, they contacted a woman he had sexually assaulted and moved her to a safe location in the community.

Shoviga will now face charges of escaping lawful custody. According to Jeffrey, the owner of the residence where Shoviga was arrested will probably be charged with harbouring a fugitive.

Mike Simpson, the project manager of community corrections with the Nunavut government, said BCC officials will review their policies in the wake of the escape.

When Shoviga disappeared from custody, he was part of group of 11 inmates being watched by one unarmed guard.

BCC policy, Simpson said, requires that on community outings there be one guard for every “10 or 11” inmates.

Simpson said that before being allowed to participate in community programs, prison officials must determine that inmates are unlikely to flee or attempt suicide. “High risk inmates do not go,” he said.

Simpson said Shoviga’s escape was premeditated, and was apparently prompted by an incident that occurred at the prison the previous night. “He watched for his opportunity and left.”

The escape is the third from BCC this year. In March, two men who had beaten and robbed an Iqaluit delivery driver fled BCC only to be apprehended about 90 minutes later.

A few years ago, an inmate who was part of community work detail also escaped from BCC custody.

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey said inmates who flee from jail can be particularly dangerous. Because they often fear re-arrest, they pose a heightened threat to both police and the public.

“Any time anyone escapes from custody it raises the stakes,” Jeffrey said.

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