PEI

Tender issued for 1st phase of work on women's wing at correctional centre

The P.E.I. government is looking for bids for the first phase of work to add a women's wing to the Provincial Correctional Centre.

'We really felt that it was time to have the appropriate space'

The plan includes 34 additional beds, enlarged program space, kitchen space and a spiritual room. (CBC)

The P.E.I. government is looking for bids for the first phase of work to add a women's wing to the Provincial Correctional Centre.

The plan includes 34 additional beds — four of those maximum security — enlarged program space, kitchen space and a spiritual room.

"The correctional centre was built in late '70s and it was designed and constructed to house male offenders," said Shannon Ellis, the director of community and correctional services. 

"Since it opened in '79, it's also accommodated female offenders and despite some modifications from time-to-time, the space available to house women, it's not ideal."

'A big benefit'

According to Ellis, the project is expected to cost around $12 million and be completed by spring 2022. Ellis said he expects the tender for the second phase of the plan to be issued this fall. 

"We actually met with some woman offenders and talked to them about what they felt their needs were," he said. 

"We took that information back to the architects and we certainly looked at other builds in the country and this is kind of the plan that we've come up with."

It's been 10 years in the making, probably even more than that.​​​- Shannon Ellis, director of community and correctional services

In 2017-2018, 99 women were incarcerated at the jail, adding up to 4,666 bed days. Ellis said one of the big pieces of the plan will be the additional space for women's programs.

"We talked about some reintegration programs and job training," he said. "So we look to enhance that and that dedicated program space will certainly be a big benefit."

'It was time'

This is a project that has been discussed for the past decade, said Ellis. And with no areas currently designed for women specifically, Ellis maintained the new addition is needed. 

"We really felt that it was time to have the appropriate space," he said. 

"It's been 10 years in the making, probably even more than that, and we're really pleased to finally be able to have that space even though it's two-plus years down the road."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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