The Drumheller Institution will see $25 million in investment to expand its capacity in the very near future.
It was announced Tuesday at the Drumheller Institution by Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson, on behalf of Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety that $15 million has been committed each to the Drumheller Institution and the Bowden Institution to add 96 new medium security beds at each institution. In addition, according to a press release, each institution’s minimum security annex will add an additional 50 beds, with an investment of $10 million for each institution.
“This additional capacity will ensure that criminals serve sentences that reflect the severity of their crimes,” said Sorenson.
Earlier this year the federal government introduced the Truth in Sentencing Act that caps the amount of presentenced credit that can be granted for time served. Often offenders would receive two-for-one credit for time served awaiting their sentencing. The new act keeps it a ratio of one-to-one, except when circumstances justify, it can be justified to 1.5-to-one.
“Canadians are and were outraged when they learned that kind of math is possible and it undermines the safety of our system and undermines the safety of our communities,” said Sorenson.
The investment in cap city will allow offenders to serve a more reflective sentence.
“Part of keeping our communities safe is keeping dangerous criminals behind bars until they have served their debt to society,” said Sorenson. “We understand there is a cost to keeping dangerous offenders behind bars, and we believe that cost is worth paying.”
Warden at the Drumheller Institution, Mike Hanly, says he expects a call out for tenders will be released in the very near future. This will add another stand alone unit to the medium security institution. In the minimum security unit, the 50 new beds will take on the appearance of an apartment complex, rather than the cottage style residences that are currently on the site.
He expects that when the new units come online it will add about 20-30 new positions to the workforce of about 400 currently at the Institution.
Mayor Bryce Nimmo expressed the importance the institution has in the community of Drumheller.
“It means so much to have this institution here, to have the citizens who work here and live in our town and are involved in all the things that happen,” said Nimmo. “When I look at all we have been able to accomplish working with the institution… this is a marvelous thing for a community.”
The Drumheller Institution opened in 1967, and has a capacity of 598 inmates. Currently there are 580 inmates at the institution. According to a release, over the coming years, Correctional Services Canada will be adding more than 2,700 beds to men’s and women’s facilities across Canada.