Baffin Correctional Centre to get $68M facelift

Iqaluit's notorious jail is set to get $68 million in renovations, from creating an actual maximum-security area to more space for correctional programming.

Renovations would include adding a second level for maximum-security inmates

The Baffin Correctional Centre is seen Thursday, April 23, 2015 in Iqaluit. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The Baffin Correctional Centre – notorious for its poor conditions and overcrowding – is set to undergo $68 million in renovations.

The project would happen in two phases, including adding a second level to the BCC for maximum security inmates and a medium security area with a designated area for correctional programs. 

"As it stands right now, we're asking for design work for a maximum secure facility. We don't have that currently," said Justice Minister Paul Okalik.

The Justice department plans to ask for an additional $1.25 million in its 2015-2016 capital budget to pay for that design work.

On Monday, MLAs approved $2.75 million for renovations for 2016-2017. An additional $15 million is outlined in the territory's five-year capital plan. The department intends to seek federal funding for the renovations through the New Building Canada Plan.

Some MLAs said they understand the urgency of project, but are concerned about where some inmates may go.

"A number of inmates will be transferred out of the facility as renovations take place at the Baffin Correctional Centre," said David Joanasie, chair of the standing committee on social wellness.

Last year, when mould was removed from the BCC, eight maximum security inmates were transferred out of territory.

Justice officials hope construction will begin in the summer of 2017.

More Justice renovations

The Nunavut Court of Justice will also undergo renovations. MLAs approved $1 million in construction for 2016-2017.

Tununiq MLA Joe Enook wondered why a building completed in 2008 needs repairs. 

"It was just built. It's a new building. We need to spend $1 million already?" 

Okalik said the renovations are to replace the windows, which are cracking at the edges from the cold. He said the issue was probably an unintentional oversight during construction.

The Nunavut Court of Justice renovations will also upgrade the prisoner area to make it more secure.


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