A former women's unit at The Pas Correctional Centre will be rebuilt to add 40 new beds in a dorm-style layout, and 64 beds will be added to Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, Justice Minister Andrew Swan and Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton said in a joint statement.
Construction in The Pas will begin in the next month, bringing the "ideal" capacity of the jail to 122 inmates. While no firm date for completion of the Milner Ridge expansion was given, the jail would ideally house 364 inmates after the upgrades.
The ministers said they hope to have the construction completed by next spring.
Overcrowding in Manitoba jails has been a problem in recent years, with several high-profile incidents being linked to overfull facilities.
Last fall, union leaders representing provincial correctional officers blamed overcrowding for a small-scale riot at the Brandon Correctional Centre.
The Oct. 4 riot involved about 27 inmates and lasted about four hours. The entire jail was locked down while its emergency response unit and negotiating team worked to bring things under control.
The province blamed the overcrowding on the legal system, saying that 70 per cent of about 2,000 inmates in jail at the time were there on remand awaiting trial or to plead guilty.
Construction of 80 new beds at the Brandon jail is underway, the province said on Wednesday.
The new beds in The Pas will house low to low-medium security prisoners, while those at Milner Ridge will be reserved for medium-security inmates.
The new construction marks the second upgrade of capacity at Milner Ridge since spring 2009, when 150 beds were added to the jail.
Province expanding prisons
WINNIPEG — The province is expanding its capacity to handle inmates at The Pas and Milner Ridge near Lac du Bonnet.
A former women's unit at The Pas Correctional Centre will be rebuilt to add 40 new minimum- to low-medium security bed spaces in a dorm-style layout.
Construction will begin within the next month, and the project is expected to be completed late this year. It will cost an estimated $3 million. The dorm will have an "ideal capacity" of 122 beds, the province said.
As well, an additional 64 medium-security beds will be added to Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, bringing total ideal capacity to 364 inmates. The expansion will cost $17 million.
This follows a 150-bed expansion at Milner Ridge that was completed last year.
Are the Conservatives truly this stupid to think that expanding prisons are really going to solve any problems? Because they aren't.