Gang super-jail proposal worth a look, Alberta minister says
The idea of a single "super-jail" to hold remanded high-level gang members from across western Canada has merit, Alberta's solicitor general said Friday.
"We're certainly willing to look at it," Fred Lindsay told CBC News.
Ministers responsible for corrections and justice from the four western provinces meet in Calgary Saturday to discuss ways they can work together to fight gang violence. The gang remand centre is on the agenda.
The facility, which was first proposed by officials in Saskatchewan, would hold gang leaders from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba who are in custody and awaiting trial.
The idea of a separate facility is that it would keep accused gang members away from the general prison population so they couldn't recruit others.
"It just makes sense to be able to control their environment in a manner that we can monitor activities more closely," Lindsay said.
Accused gang members often need to be segregated anyway when they are in remand so a single facility could be more economical, he added.
However, officials have admitted there is a downside to the idea.
Putting gang members in a single facility could give them an opportunity to network with each other, Saskatchewan's corrections minister, Darryl Hickie, said earlier this week.
No location has yet been suggested for the facility as the idea is still in its preliminary stages.
The province is currently building a new remand centre in Edmonton that's scheduled for completion in late 2011, so the old facility might be one option once it's vacated, Lindsay said.
Lindsay will be joined at Saturday's ministers meeting by Alberta Justice Minister and Attorney General Alison Redford.