Nfld. & Labrador

Labrador corrections gets $1M expansion to house female inmates

In this year's budget, the Liberals outlined $1 million to expand the Labrador Correctional Facility, to increase capacity for female inmates.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay jail is often at capacity

The Labrador Correctional Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has a maximum capacity of 53 inmates. (CBC)

The governing Liberals have put aside $1 million to expand the Labrador Correctional Facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, to increase capacity for female inmates who otherwise have had to be sent to Newfoundland cells. 

That change would allow inmates to be jailed in a location closer to their families and loved ones.

During protests outside the gates of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject in 2016, RCMP arrested a number of demonstrators.

Because there is limited capacity for keeping people in custody in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, some of the women arrested were sent to St. John's to be held in Her Majesty's Penitentiary, a provincial jail for men that often houses violent criminals serving federal sentences.

That move prompted demonstrations outside the aging prison from people who were appalled that the women were flown out of Labrador and to St. John's. One of those inmates was Beatrice Hunter, whose family took part in the protests.

Supporters of Beatrice Hunter gathered outside Her Majesty's Penitentiary in June 2017, while she was incarcerated inside. (Gary Quigley/CBC )

The Labrador Correctional Facility is often at capacity, with inmates kept in close quarters.

That announcement was part of a larger plan to expand justice programs in the province, including doubling the budget for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Other changes include $254,000 for electronic monitoring; $500,000 for a Serious Incidents Response Team; and $600,000 this year toward HMP's replacement. 

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