Province moving ahead with plans for new penitentiary

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Justice Minister Darin King announced this morning that the provncial government is moving forward with the planning of a new penitentiary for Newfoundland and Labrador. — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

Justice Minister Darin King has announced that the provincial government is moving forward with plans for a new penitentiary for Newfoundland and Labrador.

 “The time has come to replace Her Majesty’s Penitentiary with a new, modern facility,” King said at a news conference this morning. “We need a penitentiary that ensures a safe environment for corrections staff and those in custody, and one which also provides opportunities for enhanced rehabilitation services for those incarcerated. This is the first step in that important process.”

 The minister said a public request for proposals will be issued in the near future for companies with expertise in planning correctional facilities. The successful proponent will be asked to develop the functional space requirements and cost estimate for a new facility. Following the completion of that planning exercise in 2014, the province will be in a position to consider the project budget and the intended implementation schedule.

 “In recent years, significant advancements have been made related to the construction of prisons in Canada in areas such as design and the programming that might be contained in a facility,” said King. “We will be following best practices to ensure that the new penitentiary is the proper one for this province. It is important for inmates and our correctional staff.”

 King said the province recognizes the challenges associated with Her Majesty’s Penitentiary. Concerns have been raised on numerous occasions and its replacement was recommended after a review of the prison system was completed in 2008. Having first opened in 1859, Her Majesty’s Penitentiary houses provincial and federal inmates and has a capacity of 175 male offenders.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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