JOHN’S, N.L.—Newfoundland and Labrador has announced it is replacing its notorious Victorian-era men’s prison, one of the oldest in Canada.
Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s, N.L. has faced decades of criticism for the harsh, violent conditions for inmates and staff, exacerbated by outdated facilities first built in 1859.
Justice Minister Andrew Parsons says the new 21,000-square-metre correctional facility will double the size of the old prison and allow for more programming, recreation and mental health services.
The announcement comes months after a report into the deaths of four inmates in the province’s prisons found overcrowding, limited health services, understaffing and insufficient training contributed to inmates’ poor mental health.
Parsons says it’s impossible to overstate the stresses on staff and inmates worsened by time spent in the aging institution.
The upcoming provincial budget will allot $600,000 for the planning phase, with contractor proposals opening this summer and construction expected to begin in 2022.
© 2019 The Canadian Press