Ira Kibbe, Correctional Supervisor of Operations at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.

‘People first’ organization lets you really make a difference

Work-life balance and ability to have a positive impact create a winning career combination

Ira Kibbe was studying criminal justice in Abbotsford when a practicum took him to a local penitentiary.

The experience would lead him down a career path that would change his life and that of many inmates he’s overseen in the decade since.

“It just opened my eyes to what a corrections career could be and the opportunities it presented,” Kibbe says.

Joining the BC Corrections team in 2009 as a Correctional Officer, Kibbe set his sights on the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for a couple of reasons.

First, BC Corrections’ flexible work schedule gives him ample time to spend with family and friends in Maple Ridge, where the location of the correctional centre provides easy access to both city amenities and ample outdoor recreation opportunities.

Second, he liked that it was a sentencing facility – rather than inmates being remanded while awaiting trial or sentencing, they were there to do their allotted time, meaning more opportunity to help them along a better path.

Kibbe recalls one young inmate who had a long history of unhealthy and broken relationships. As a role model, Kibbe fostered a positive and respectful relationship with the young man. After working extensively with him, he saw significant growth that helped break the cycle and prevent him from returning to prison upon his release.

“You’re actually teaching them, coaching them and helping them reintegrate into society. You can really make a difference,” says Kibbe, today a Correctional Supervisor of Operations at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.

And that points to the value BC Corrections sees in its officers.

“I have always said that our staff are our greatest asset,” says Stephanie Macpherson, Provincial Director, BC Corrections. “We are a ‘people first’ organization – which means we are always thinking of the people when we make decisions and develop our principles, values and goals. People matter, whether it’s the inmate in our custody or our staff who want to help to support that person who wants to turn their life around. We are focused on investing in our staff to ensure our organization is agile, responsive to their needs and able to excel in pursuing its mission of public safety.”

Numerous career opportunities

Early in his career, Kibbe enjoyed a position with the correctional centre’s Right Living Community, where carefully selected inmates live in a setting more akin to a halfway house and founded on the idea of discussion between officers and inmates, rather than enforcement.

“Right away I noticed that when you remove those barriers, people open up. There were a few guys who really took our discussions to heart, which opened them up to accepting help and being willing to change their behaviour. This approach greatly improves the inmate experience during their time in custody and creates a safer, more respectful environment for everyone.”

That early experience led Kibbe to wanting to work with inmates with mental health needs, with a focus on working with them to develop a release plan that would help them succeed when they were released.

“I kind of fell in love with the work – it was challenging and rewarding and it was where you could make a huge impact on someone’s life.”

Kibbe’s experience points to the opportunities open to BC Corrections’ officers.

Fraser Regional Correctional Centre has three levels of custody, so some inmates are engaged in work in the community, including mowing lawns at the cemetery and running the local fish hatchery, while others work within the facility itself. There, staff are engaged to teach everything from apprenticeship accredited welding to various levels of carpentry, in addition to many more roles.

“The variety of different things you can do is massive, especially if you’re motivated to do something new,” Kibbe says.

“You get the satisfaction of actually changing someone’s life and it gives you the opportunity to give back to the community.”

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Details released for controversial Cloverdale supportive housing project

Community reaction has been ‘unprecedented’: Cloverdale BIA

Suspected spill kills hundreds of crayfish, coho in Langley river

A fish kill in the Nicomekl has a biologist concerned for the health of the local ecosystem.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

WATCH: Cops for Cancer bring message of hope to Langley school

Young cancer survivors are traveling with the fundraising bike ride.

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read