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Ontario Modernizes for the 21st Century, and Beyond

NCJ Number
Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2002 Pages: 36-40
Alan Harman
Date Published
July 2002
5 pages
A large-scale modernization program is transforming Ontario's correctional facilities -- some of which are Canada's oldest -- into modern, safe, secure, and efficient institutions.
The modernization program -- the most comprehensive transformation of correctional facilities in Ontario's history -- began in 1996. By 2004, Ontario's existing system of institutions for adult inmates will be a fully modern system that is safe, secure, efficient, and effective. This modernization program will also help in the implementation of the Corrections Accountability Act passed in 2000, which requires that inmates remain drug and alcohol free and actively participate in rehabilitation programs to earn early release. The role of the Ontario Board of Parole has been expanded with the creation of a single release authority called the Ontario Parole and Earned Release Board. When the prison modernization program was announced, the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services had 45 adult institutions in its system. Over the past 4 years, 31 adult facilities have been identified for closure. The new jails offer a better opportunity to standardize procedures and provide rehabilitative and educational programming for offenders. The aim is to build a better balance between detention, correction, and accountability. Facilities that are too old to retrofit safely will be closed. Two new 1,200-bed correctional centers are being built near Toronto, and the Maplehurst Correctional Complex has been renovated and expanded to 1,550 beds. Renovations and security upgrades have been undertaken at two other facilities and are planned for two more. Some features of these renovations and new facilities are described in this article.