Inmates moved to new jail

The new Whitehorse Correctional Centre is officially open for business. Inmates spent their first day and night at the facility Thursday. The $70-million building was constructed to high energy-efficiency standards.

The new Whitehorse Correctional Centre is officially open for business.

Inmates spent their first day and night at the facility Thursday.

The $70-million building was constructed to high energy-efficiency standards. It also provided more than 300 full-time jobs during the construction. The Kwanlin Dun First Nation was a partner in the project, says a news release from the Justice Department.

The project, excluding the new “arrest processing unit,” which was formerly referred to as a sobering centre, came in on budget, said Justice spokesperson Dan Cable. The original budget of $67 million was amended earlier on in the process.

For NDP justice critic, Lois Moorcroft, the move could not have happened soon enough. “The need for a new Whitehorse Correctional Centre is decades old,” she said.

The old building was a human rights violation, she added. It was common for inmates to sleep on mattresses on the floor when there were not enough beds.

That did happen, Cable confirmed, but only when capacity topped 120. At the time of the move, there were only 103 inmates. The new building has room for 190.

(Roxanne Stasyszyn)