News Release Archive

HEALTH/JUSTICE--New Correctional Centre and New Forensic Facility
Plans to construct a new correctional facility --staffed by
public servants --on the same grounds as a new forensic services
facility were announced today by Health Minister Jim Smith and
Justice Minister Alan Mitchell.

"This unique approach will address concerns about staffing,
safety, outdated facilities and overcrowding," said Mr. Mitchell. 

Both buildings will be on the same grounds, allowing the two
facilities to share infrastructure such as kitchen, laundry and
heating. As well, the forensic clinical staff will be able to
offer enhanced programs for mentally ill offenders.   

"There is a pressing need to replace the existing forensic
service at the Nova Scotia Hospital," said Dr. Smith. "This new
facility will allow us to provide better treatment for patients,
while maintaining public safety."

The new forensic service will remain a part of the Nova Scotia
Hospital and will be funded by the Department of Health. It will
continue to be staffed by employees of the Nova Scotia Hospital. 

Management and bargaining unit staff of the Halifax Correctional
Centre and the hospital's Provincial Forensic Psychiatry Service
provided input into the designs. They will now be involved in
reviewing the designs before they are finalized. An appropriate
site will be selected for the new facilities.

The Department of Transportation and Public Works will act as
agents for Justice and Health for management of the construction.
Requests for proposals and tendering will be issued. Financing
will involve leasing arrangements with the private sector. The
facilities are expected to cost a maximum of $36 million and
should be complete by the fall of 2000.

The government released a comprehensive feasibility study that
concluded there are significant benefits in building the two
facilities on the same site.

The plan, developed by ACG Corrections Services Inc., provides a
framework for the future. With the construction of a larger,
safer correctional facility in the Halifax area, congestion in
the smaller institutions around the province will be reduced. By
housing the most dangerous offenders in the new correctional
centre, safety in the smaller institutions will be improved for
offenders, staff and the public. Similarly, a new forensic
service will better meet staff and client needs.

"While the report puts forward a number of options, we will not
be acting on them," said Mr. Mitchell. "Once the new correctional
facility is in place, we want to gauge the impact on our
operations and then will decide on future options for our other


Contact: Michele McKinnon
         Department of Justice

         Community Relations
         Nova Scotia Hospital

NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the Custody Configuration report
prepared by ACG Corrections Services Inc. will be available at
the Joseph Howe Building, third floor, 1690 Hollis St., Halifax.
Fred Honsberger, executive director of Correctional Services, and
Louise Bradley, director of the Provincial Forensic Psychiatry
Service, will be available to provide background information and
answer questions today, Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. until noon.

Please note that due to the size of the report, limited copies
are available. However, photocopying services will be provided
for sections of the report.

Members of the media outside Halifax are asked to contact the
superintendent of the correctional facility in their area for
access to the report.    

ngr                   Dec. 18, 1997                  10:15 a.m.