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

Waterworks situation on table at Hope District meeting

Council to make decision on 753 Waterworks transfer tonight

Rail group to bring plan to Abbotsford council

Group is calling for plans to run trains on rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey

Construction project in Hope means bus diversion starting today

Bus riders will have to flag down driver for Route 22

Question Answers with Fraser-Cascade 2019 byelection candidates

Seven candidates have stepped forward for this year’s sudden byelection—learn about them here

Sunshine Valley teens burning with promise

Possibly the youngest in B.C., Sunshine Valley trains 15- and 16-year-old firefighters

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

Most Read