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June 30, 2009

Manitoba gets start on women’s jail project

HEADINGLEY, Man.

With a backdrop of heavy equipment working behind him, Justice Minister Dave Chomiak recently announced the start of construction of a new Manitoba provincial jail for women.

Chomiak acknowledged the recent criticism directed at the government for not starting the project sooner by stating the delay was the result of extensive consultations and planning that went into the design of the jail.

“You get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to construct a state-of-the-art facility,’’ Chomiak said. “It’s better to get it right and correct.’’

The new Women’s Correctional Centre will replace the 116-year-old jail for women in Portage la Prairie.

It’s slated to open in the summer of 2011 and will hold sentenced inmates and prisoners awaiting trial.

Delays in the project forced justice officials last week to transfer up to 35 women inmates from the Portage jail to the men’s jail in Brandon, Man.

Over-crowding of provincial jails has long been a problem. There are currently 153 adult women in provincial correctional facilities designed to hold 76 women.

Chomiak said the new jail will be the most advanced correctional facility for women in North America, adding it will also use sustainable building practices, including natural lighting and geothermal heating.

DCN News Services

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