Province takes first step towards new prison

James
James McLeod
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Study has been endorsed to examine location, costs and timetable

Justice Minister Darin King says the provincial government is serious about replacing Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP), and it is spending $235,000 to take the first step towards doing it.

The government has awarded a contract to Parking Architects to pick a site for the new prison, draw up a floor plan, come up with project cost estimates and an estimated schedule for how long it will take to complete the work.

King said he’s expecting to have the report back by early fall.

“We are committed to moving forward with this project, and if the costs come in and the schedule comes in where we expect it may, then we are committed to moving forward with this,” King said.

Her Majesty’s Penitentiary is extremely old and justice advocates have said for years that it needs to be replaced.

Guards say that the way it’s built makes their job more dangerous by not providing good sight lines while watching inmates, and inmates’ advocates say a lack of space means it’s not possible to do proper rehabilitative programming in HMP.

King acknowledged that a new prison might not be the most politically popular thing for the government to spend millions of dollars on, but he said he’s committed to doing it anyway.

“Obviously, you follow politics closely enough that you know there’s times when you make decisions where politics factors in,” he said.

“There’s other times when you’ve got to make decisions that are the right decisions, even though sometimes they’re not going to be the most popular, politically.”

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Parking Architects

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