Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 09, 2012 - 8:51 am

Temporary jail in Iqaluit planned to relieve overcrowded BCC: justice minister

"We need to do something for the safety of the inmates and the safety of the people that work there"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The Government of Nunavut plans to set up a temporary jail in Iqaluit to relieve the overflow of territorial inmates at the Baffin Correctional Centre and to help deal with an expected increased in inmates when Bill C-10 comes into effect.

That bill, known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, would amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other federal laws to limit the use of conditional sentencing, create more mandatory minimum sentences and make the youth justice law more tough.

To prepare for that, and to cope with overcrowding at BCC now, the GN plans to move forward on setting up a temporary facility in Iqaluit.

This will “alleviate our immediate problems here for the short term in Iqaluit with BCC,” said Daniel Shewchuk, Nunavut’s justice minister, speaking March 7 in the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole.

Shewchuk said he wanted “to try and get this done as soon as possible” and would seek additional money for the move.

With more than 100 inmates in BCC, built in the late 1980s to house about 48, Shewchuk said “it’s outlived its lifecycle and its use.”

“It is overcrowded,” he said. “It is in dire straights. We need to do something for the safety of the inmates and the safety of the people that work there.”

The pressures on BCC will be alleviated somewhat once the new 46-bed jail in Rankin Inlet opens, Shewchuk said.

“However, we still will be over capacity at BCC,” he said.

When Bill C-10 kicks in, the GN expects the number of territorial inmates, now housed at BCC, at the Ilavut centre in Kugluktuk and jails in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, to increase by 30, from 190 to 220.

To deal with that increase, “we also are also putting together a long-term plan that is going to alleviate the problem for years to come in Nunavut,” Shewchuk said.

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