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Four inmates trash prison in the night

Four inmates together destroyed much of the Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) overnight Sept. 25, the Department of Justice publicly revealed three days later.

Deputy minister William MacKay said in a written statement Sept. 28 that significant damage was done, which resulted in the destruction of 85 per cent of the building's medium security bed space and 33 per cent of the maximum security bed space.

The Baffin Correctional Centre suffered destruction of 85 per cent of the building's medium security bed space and 33 per cent of the maximum security bed space at the hands of four inmates who have been transferred to a correctional facility in Ontario.
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

Director of policy and planning Stephen Shaddock said Oct. 4 the four inmates responsible have been transferred to a correctional facility in Ontario.

"An additional sixteen inmates have been or are in the process of being temporarily transferred to other correctional facilities within Nunavut during repairs," said Shaddock.

"BCC is currently accommodating 50 inmates out of a current bed space of 54. Two units with six beds each are still undergoing repairs."

The department reported there were no injuries due to the incident.

The department did not provide details on the damage.

"The RCMP is still investigating the incident. We are not able to provide details or comment on how the damage was done during the course of their investigation," said Shaddock.

In his statement, MacKay said corrections staff worked with RCMP in the aftermath to create a security plan.

"This includes partnering with other jurisdictions in the short-term," he said.

"As of September 25, 2017, BCC had 55 inmates, 20 who are sentenced and 35 who are currently remanded. Staff from BCC, Makigiarvik, the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility, the Kugluktuk Ilavut Centre, and Uttaqivik are working together to ensure appropriate transfers across the territory."

Shaddock said repairs are ongoing and cost estimates are not available at this time.

"Contractors are still working on repairing the vandalized areas and upgrades are being completed to minimize security risks," he said.

MacKay had noted upgrades were to ensure similar incidents cannot be repeated.

MacKay assured Iqaluit residents at the time that the violent incident had not created a threat to the public.

"Work continues on the design of the Qikiqtani Correctional Healing Centre, which will replace the current facility. The new infrastructure will address ongoing security related issues, as well as provide additional rehabilitative programming," he said.

In 2013, the Office of the Correctional Investigator publicly documented the conditions at Baffin Correctional Centre. In March 2015, auditor general Michael Ferguson's report on corrections in Nunavut noted the Department of Justice was doing very little to correct what he said were insecure and unsafe conditions for inmates and staff at BCC.

The future Qikiqtani Correctional Healing Centre officially received the funding it needed to become a reality by 2020, at an estimated total cost of $75.8 million, earlier this year.

As for the damage done by the four inmates, Shaddock said his department "anticipates the building will be fully remediated by the end of October."