Whitehorse Correctional Centre

Building a new place for healing

Located in Whitehorse, Yukon, the Whitehorse Correctional Centre is a 85-bed multi-level institution housing individuals under various legal and legislative acts. The facility is about five kilometres north of the city centre.

The Correctional Centre was built in 1967 and is currently the only correctional facility operating in the Yukon Territory. Inmates at the facility are housed in a dormitory style living arrangement and there are two celled units for high security inmates.

Individuals are housed at the correctional facility for a variety of reasons, according to the Centre’s website:  
-Remanded while awaiting disposition of charges
-Parole violations
-Serving sentences of up to two years less a day
-Serving out time on Federal sentences
-Those in need of secure psychiatric care
-People who are found not criminally responsible (by order of the Yukon Review Board)
-Immigration holds

The current Whitehorse Correctional Centre employs about 80 staff, made up of Corrections Officers, plus case managers, administrative staff, kitchen staff, recreation officers, maintenance workers and community volunteers.

The Centre has always been committed to public safety and offender rehabilitation and strives to provide a safe and secure environment for staff and inmates. According to the website, a key objective of the team at the centre is to “encourage inmates to take responsibility for their actions and to actively earn their way back into the community; to provide inmates with access to educational, work, recreational and treatment programs in order to reduce the risk of recidivism, reduce the likelihood of institutional behavioural and management problems, and increase public safety.”

The new Whitehorse Correctional Centre

However, as the current Centre has outlived its use, the Yukon Government has decided to build a new Centre—and has broken ground on the new site. The new Centre will better enable the territory to serve its function for corrections and provide the adequate supervision of inmates that is “consistent with human dignity but assures all necessary protection to the community, staff and inmates and provide an environment which will minimize the detrimental effects of confinement,” as part of the government’s objectives.

Yukon Minister of Justice Marian C. Horne has said, “It’s no secret that most of the people that go to jail in Yukon are aboriginal. This facility will provide the opportunity for inmates to address the root causes of their crimes and will offer programming that can help them to heal.”

The new centre is unnamed and will be completed on schedule in late 2011 at a $67 million cost paid through a unique joint venture partnership between Dominion Construction and Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

The style of the building will be a flexible design and will be able to accommodate different populations with 104 cells (double-bunk capacity). It will be able to accommodate 172 inmates. According to online reports on http://hopeforthefuture.ca/orange-post/yukon-government/, the new facility is designed with four male living units and one female unit.

Partners in the project went through several stages of consultation, including meetings with First Nations, to make sure that the best facility possible is created.

In addition to living units, the Centre will feature programming that will help resolve problems stemming from incarceration and also will have educational programs. It will also be constructed to ensure the maximum amount of natural light possible, to provide a healthier atmosphere for inmates, in addition to a medial unit that will offer dental services.

The new centre will not only replace the old, but provide the foundation for long-term growth and healing that the inmates are driving towards.

For more information visit www.justice.gov.yk.ca.