Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay jail, correctional centre to be combined into new 325 bed facility

The province has announced a new facility in Thunder Bay, Ont., to replace both the nearly-century-old jail, as well as the correctional centre.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones made the announcement in Thunder Bay Thursday morning

A new 325 bed facility will combine the Thunder Bay District Jail and Thunder Bay Correctional Centre to help manage inmate population while keeping staff safe, provincial officials said in a Thursday morning announcement. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

The province has announced a new facility in Thunder Bay, Ont., to replace both the nearly-century-old jail, as well as the correctional centre.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones made the announcement Thursday morning on the front lawn of the Thunder Bay District Jail.

"After decades of neglect, a changing and increasingly complex inmate profile and increasing instances of inmate-on-staff violence, it's critical that we take action now to bring real change in corrections," Jones stated in a written release.

Calls to upgrade the jail have been made for years, but were particularly loud after a riot in the facility in late December 2015.

The new correctional complex will be built to combine the Thunder Bay District Jail on MacDougall Street and the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre on Highway 61. The new facility will have 325 beds, along with multiple housing options the province said.

"The new facility will also feature improved levels of security and inmate tracking, classification and placement to allow correctional officers to better manage the inmate population" Jones said.
Ontario's Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton announce the creation of a new 325 corrections facility on the lawn of the Thunder Bay District Jail. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The new facility will also have more natural light, although the design for the new jail is not yet finalized.

A new design will also allow correctional officers to manage the inmate population while minimizing risk to the staff, the province said.

Minister of Infrastructure, Monte McNaughton said the new jail will be built as part of a P3, or public-private partnership. It means the facility will be built as a private building, but the jail itself will be operated by corrections staff.

McNaughton said he did not have any details on the cost of the project, as well as when construction could start, how long it could take to build, or a location for the proposed facility. He also said more details would be made available in the fall.