Jail bursting at the seams

On Saturday, there were 85 inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. An extra corrections officer was put on shift.

On Saturday, there were 85 inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

An extra corrections officer was put on shift.

“The centre was built 40 years ago for 46 inmates,” said acting superintendent Simone Arnold on Wednesday.

“But since then, we’ve done a lot of revamping in order to accommodate higher numbers.”

Nevertheless, the jail is overcrowded and condemned, said Liberal Justice critic Don Inverarity.

“This is an issue that should have been solved five years ago.”

On November 30th, a memorandum was sent to all correctional centre staff.

“Due to the high numbers with the inmate population and to assist in the event of any fire-related issues … we are implementing a scheduled extra (corrections officer) from the hours of 23:00 – 7 (a.m.),” it stated.

“This change will occur when our count reaches 85 (or more).”

So far, there’s only been one night when an extra corrections officer was needed, said Arnold.

The jail is so full, some inmates are sleeping on mats on the floor, said Inverarity during Monday’s question period.

That’s not true, said Arnold.

“No one is sleeping on the floor,” she said.

A new interim space plan will include “renovations to the women’s dorm, which will increase its physical size, add additional washroom facilities and allow for more organized living spaces,” said Justice Minister Marian Horne, during question period.

The plan will be finished by the end of this fiscal year, she said.

“We need a new jail,” said Inverarity.

“Interim steps are not going to solve the problems.”

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