Over $4 million invested since 2007 in plans for an unbuilt penitentiary

Over $4M spent since 2007 on plans for a penitentiary that has never been built

“The Government’s Decade-Long Quest for a New Prison: A Costly Endeavor

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been on a quest for over two decades to build a new prison. The plan was initially supposed to come to fruition in 2022, but due to high costs, it has been delayed yet again. The figures, obtained through an access to information request by CBC News, reveal a history of spending and shelving of plans. The government announced that they are going back to the drawing board for a new prison, as the cost proposed by the sole bidder was over $500 million, an amount deemed too high for the province to spend.

Millions of Dollars Spent on Planning and Design
The government has spent over $4 million on pre-design consulting services, master plans, and the assessment of adult custody infrastructure. A further $3 million has been spent since announcing the plans to build a new prison in 2019, bringing the total expenditure to millions of dollars. The government now faces the challenge of reassessing their plan and seeking a smaller, more cost-effective facility design.

Community Perspectives and Disappointment
Cindy Murphy, the executive director of the John Howard Society, expressed concern about the delay in the construction of a new prison. She emphasized the need for rehabilitation-focused, bright, and spacious facilities that are conducive to reform. Murphy also highlighted the disappointment and frustration felt by many about the continuous delays in building the new prison. The recurring setbacks raise doubts about the government’s commitment and ability to keep their promises.

Looking to the Future
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister John Abbott revealed that the new request for qualifications will aim to find a smaller facility with a stacked floor design. The government plans to reduce the overall size of the facility without compromising the programming. Despite the setback, Murphy emphasizes the importance of holding the government accountable and advocating for the timely construction of the new facility.

Closing Thoughts
The government’s persistent attempts to build a new prison have raised concerns about the allocation of public funds and the effectiveness of their planning. While cost considerations are important, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being and rehabilitation of inmates. The ongoing delay in the construction of a new prison highlights the need for continued vigilance and advocacy to ensure that the government fulfills its commitment to provide a safe and conducive environment for both inmates and the community.”



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