More than 20 years later, a new facility opens in Southwestern Ontario

More than a dozen years after he was locked up at a prison in Southern Ontario, a corrections facility is opening in Western Ontario.

The $2.5-million, state-of-the-art facility is located in SouthWestern Ontario’s Westwood Correctional Centre.

The facility is part of a provincial initiative called “Prisoners Together.”

“Prisoner Together” is a partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Ontario Correctional Services Board and correctional institutions across the province.

It’s a pilot project for the province to build a more humane, supportive and caring correctional environment for people in custody, said correctional services board president Dr. David Hinch.

“Prisons are places where people are incarcerated and there are people there who have been convicted of crimes, and that is something that we are very focused on,” Hinch said.

The project will be built in an isolated setting, in a facility that will be “completely private,” and it will have an air-conditioned environment, a dedicated kitchen and shower, and a fully-equipped kitchenette, he said.

“It’s not going to be the same as some of the other facilities, but it’s going to have some of that same facilities, so it’s not just a traditional prison, but you’re going to get a bit more privacy and dignity, he added.

Prison inmates who are released on parole or conditional release are eligible to be transferred to the new facility.

Hinch said the facility will be the first in Ontario to receive an operating license, and there will be about 120 people on the waiting list for the first time, he explained.

The first inmates will be released to families in June 2019.