Third World jail is Yukon Party money pit

In 1989, there was little doubt the community needed a new jail to replace the dilapidated Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

In 1989, there was little doubt the community needed a new jail to replace the dilapidated Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

The only thing lacking was political will.

As a stopgap, the government of the day built a new low-security facility in Teslin to ease pressure on the Whitehorse facility.

The idea was to decentralize a few government jobs and services to rural Yukon.

It didn’t work.

The community balked. It didn’t want a jail. The facility was put in mothballs.

Today it is used as a dorm for visiting hockey teams.

The Whitehorse Correctional Facility fell into further disrepair. Successive reports recommended it be replaced.

Successive governments refused to act.

But in 2000, the Yukon government started talking with First Nations and the public about building a new jail.

That year, the Liberal government spent $217,000 researching and planning the facility. Architectural plans were drawn up.

In 2001, Justice spent $971,000 beginning construction of the new facility.

In 2002, it spent another $1.12 million.

That same year, the Yukon Party government was elected.

A jail was not one of the new government’s priorities and the project was deep-sixed.

The $2.3 million invested in the project to date was wasted, er, written off.

The government started again.

In 2002-03 it spent $88,000 renovating the old jail.

In 2003-04, the government spent another $164,000 patching holes, replacing mortar and doors and rewiring electrical conduits in its rundown building, which was so bad the Yukon’s fire marshal had threatened to condemn it.

In 2004-05, the government pumped another $1 million into the money pit.

It estimates it will spend another $161,000 keeping the grungy facility afloat this fiscal year.

It is also planning to spend $633,000 on correction reform.

The total spent since work began on a new jail in 2000: $4.35 million.

What has the Yukon got to show for it? A hole in the ground and an 18-page report called the Correctional Redevelopment Strategic Plan, dated December 8, but released last week.

It identifies two goals.

First, implementing its recommendations to improve correction programs to victims, offenders and community members.

Second, to improve the correctional system.

That will involve writing “vision,” “mission” and “value” statements, staging “workshops,” drafting “recruitment and retention strategies,” “training models,” “recruitment and orientation strategies,” a “communication and citizen engagement plan” and an “offender management system.”

As well, it will be pulling together “comprehensive risk/needs assessment tools” and talking to communities to develop a “capacity building plan.”

And, eventually, the government will build a new jail.


Sometime within this government’s mandate, which runs out in the fall of 2011, according to Bob Riches, assistant deputy minister of Justice.

The inmates and jail guards currently spending their days locked up together in Third World conditions can hardly wait. (RM)

Just Posted

Métis artist decolonizes western-style clothes with beadwork

Justine Woods is the recipient of an arts residency in Haines Junction

Yukon ATIPP office to make improvements after investigation by the information and privacy commissioner

The investigation was triggered by a complaint from a Yukon News reporter in November 2019

Federal government earmarks $500,000 to promote mining in the North

The cash will be spent over three years at a major mining convention

‘Our people’s patience is running thin’: VGFN citizens concerned about low salmon count, councillor says

Darius Elias said meetings with Alaskan counterparts have been arranged this year

Today’s mailbox: Biomass

Letters to the editor published Jan. 17

City news, briefly

Some news from Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 13th meeting

Crash survivors burn vehicle to stay warm

Three occupants of a vehicle that went off the road between Carmacks… Continue reading

Twelve impaired drivers nabbed in nine days, RCMP says

‘It’s truly staggering to discover the number of people who are still getting behind the wheel while impaired’

Yukonomist: A zero-carbon replacement for our LNG plant

Consider small, modular nuclear reactors

Nicolas Petit wins Copper Basin 300

Rob Cooke was the lone Yukoner to finish, placing 12th

Most Read