New Windsor jail draws thousands of visitors for tours

More than 4,000 people made their way through the new South West Detention Centre for an hour-long tour.
Inmates will soon be moving into the South West Detention Centre. (CBC News)

One of the hottest spots to be this weekend was Windsor's new jail.

More than 4,000 people made their way through the new South West Detention Centre for an hour-long tour.

Superintendent Mike Wasylyk was surprised by the turnout.

"We don't usually get the chance to show what we do inside a jail, so this is a great educational opportunity for our staff to tell people this is what we do in corrections," he said. "Especially with this amazing building we have here, with all the added services and units, the staff are really, really excited to be able to share what they do with the public."

The line to see the new jail was so long Sunday, officials had to stop` the buses coming in from Devonshire Mall at 2 p.m, two hours before the last tours were to begin.

The new jail will have both male and female inmates.

It includes infirmary units, a mental health unit and segregation units.

At first, correctional officers were concerned about one change: direct supervision. Inmates will mingle with the guards in common areas.

Dan Sidsworth, with the union representing guards, says they're on board now.

"We're working on schedules right now that deliver two correctional officers inside the living units with the inmates. It's direct supervision, which is new for us in a remand setting," he said. "Statistics show us looking at other provinces and other jurisdictions down in the United States that it's a safer model."

In the next few weeks, inmates from the old Windsor and Chatham jails will be moved in.


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