9 inmates moved from B.C. minimum security facility where 2 escapees charged with murder
VICTORIA -- Nine prisoners have been moved from the William Head minimum-security prison to more secure institutions following the escape of two inmates now charged with killing a man while they were on the lam.
James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage escaped from the Victoria-area prison on July 7, 2019, and were caught two days later.
On Friday, the RCMP announced the escapees had been charged with the first-degree murder of 60-year-old Martin Payne while the prisoners were unlawfully at large.
In the aftermath of the escape, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) launched a review of every inmate in minimum-security custody across the country.
That review led the department to reclassify 14 minimum-security offenders and move them to medium-security prisons.
Nine of the 14 inmates the correctional service found to be misclassified were at William Head, including Armitage and Busch.
"We have revised our policies to strengthen the assessment process and decision-making involving minimum-security inmates," said CSC spokesperson Martine Rondeau on Tuesday.
"In addition, CSC has completed a security-level review of all minimum-security inmates under our supervision, including those at WHI [William Head Institution]."
Rondeau said all 14 inmates have since been transferred to more secure prisons.
Payne's body was discovered at his Metchosin home on July 12, 2019, approximately six kilometres from the prison grounds.
Both Busch and Armitage were violent offenders before they were charged with killing Payne.
Busch was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and Armitage, who had previously escaped from custody multiple times, was serving a sentence for aggravated assault and robbery.
Since the escape, the prison itself has made changes intended to prevent similar situations.
The institution now holds an additional daily prisoner count and has revised the time at which inmates must return to their housing units at the end of the day.
The prison also now informs local officials whenever someone is missing during a head count, even if the missing inmate hasn't been confirmed to have escaped the facility.