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NEWS RELEASE · 14th September 2010
Ministry of Public Safety
Women inmates at the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre will soon be moving into a new 20-cell building that provides a safe and supportive environment for them, and also helps to reduce capacity pressures at the jail, Solicitor General Michael de Jong, QC, announced today.

"This $11.5-million capital investment created new living space and program areas for women inmates so they can learn the skills needed to transition back into the community," said de Jong. "This expansion is part of the largest single investment in B.C. correctional facilities in more than half a century."

"In addition to the hundreds of people employed during construction, this expansion also provides eight new staff positions," said Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George Valemount. "That's a significant investment in jobs and the economy in this region at a time when economic growth and stability are so important. This project was completed within budget and provides a safer environment for both staff and inmates."

The new addition has dedicated program space and an enhanced security system. Rehabilitative and educational programs will be offered, and the facility also has a sewing/laundry room and a full training kitchen.

"Gender-specific programs offered at the new unit will give women inmates the opportunity to set meaningful goals and learn valuable life skills," said Pat Bell, MLA for Prince George Mackenzie. "This reduces their risk of reoffending."

Although daily counts vary, about 21 women inmates currently housed in the main building at the jail will share cells at the new unit with two beds, a toilet and sink, and a desk and shelving, as well as a television purchased by inmates. In total, the general population living unit accommodates 40 beds. One additional cell with one bed can be used for medical observation if needed.

The area in the main building at the jail previously used for female inmates will revert back to program and cell space for men.

"The addition for women-only will mean less of a need to transport inmates from northern B.C. to Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in the Lower Mainland," said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. "This enables women to remain close to their support systems in their own community, which can really make a difference in rebuilding their lives."

The expansion is part of the $185-million capital plan to increase capacity across the province. It includes 104 additional cells at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, 100 interim beds added at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, 50 interim beds at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre and a new pre-trial facility in Surrey.

Approximately 200 new correctional officers will be hired once all projects are complete.

There are currently 2,800 inmates in the provincial correctional system. Just fewer than 10 per cent are female.

The Prince George Regional Correctional Centre is a remand and sentenced facility for adults in the northern region of B.C. The centre opened in 1996 and houses male and female inmates.

The Province previously announced $3.9 million in upgrades to PGRCC as part of a federal/provincial accelerated infrastructure funding program. The emergency power upgrades are complete, security upgrades are ongoing.