P.E.I. jail adding unit for women

Information on inmate deaths should be made public, says John Howard Society

P.E.I. plans to add a new 34-bed unit for women at the Provincial Correctional Centre.

Right now, female inmates are housed either in the weekend unit or in another separate unit at the jail.

The plan is to build a new addition with 22 cells - four maximum, six medium and 12 minimum security.

The new addition should help female inmates on their road to rehabilitation, P.E.I.'s Justice Minister Jordan Brown said.

"Female offenders are typically different than male offenders often are," said Brown.

Over the last few years best practice standards have changed, Brown said.

"We're looking to come into the modern era and ensure that we're doing what we should be doing to ensure that our female offenders have good programming in place so that they're not as at high a risk of reoffending"

In 2017-2018, 99 women were incarcerated at the jail, adding up to 4,666 bed days.

"We're doing the things that need to be done to ensure safety," said Brown.

"We are just not at a spot where we are able to focus on rehabilitation of these folks as much as we might possibly be able to if we had the proper set up."

The investment is being made to provide the best opportunities for female offenders to rehabilitate. Brown said work should start in April of next year and could be finished by June 2021.

Construction is expected to cost about $13 million.

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