Thursday, May 25, 2017

New detention centre opens in Sorel-Tracy, #NOPE releases Canadian carceral expansion tracker

by Justin Piché (Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa)

A new detention centre that will replace an existing 231-bed facility in Sorel was commissioned by the Government of Quebec yesterday.  The human warehouse features 8 pods totalling 300 beds for remanded and sentenced men, with an additional 80 beds in dormitories for prisoners serving weekend sentences.  Based on recent figures compiled by Statistics Canada, the 300 regular beds will cost $64,200 per day and $23,433,000 per year to operate.  The 80 beds dedicated to imprisoning those who live and/or work in Quebec communities during the week for 2 days at a time will cost $17,120 per day and $890,240 per year to operate.  Taken together, the new Établissement de détention de Sorel-Tracy will cost an estimated $24,323,240 per year to operate.

To commemorate the event, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project's No On Prison Expansion / #NOPE Initiative has created a Canadian carceral expansion tracker, which can be accessed by scrolling down on the main page of this blog.  There you will find information about different on-going penal infrastructure projects that, if built, will entrench in brick and mortar our reliance on criminalization and incarceration in Canada for years to come.  

With some facilities still in the planning stages, it is important that a Canadian prison construction moratorium be initiated in order to start building communities, not more jails and prisons in this country.  We continue to invite those who oppose carceral expansion to sign our petition demanding a halt to projects that have the potential to sustain and deepen exclusion.  This petition will be submitted to Prime Minister Trudeau and members of his Cabinet on 1 July 2017 as one step among many being taken to ensure that the next 150 years of this country are not marked by carceral expansion and the deprivation of liberty.  

In the months ahead, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and #NOPE Initiative will be organizing events where concrete alternatives to new jails and prisons, along with their benefits and limitations, will be discussed.  A campaign against the proposed new jail in Ottawa is also being initiated in the hopes of increasing local capacity for restorative and transformative justice, as well as services to enhance the collective well-being and safety in our communities.  More information about this campaign will be posted here and on our Facebook page in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.      

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