Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 22, 2018 - 2:28 pm

Nunavut jail riot cost $1.5 million

Bulk of spending went toward housing inmates in Ontario

A charter flight that saw 40 Iqaluit inmates flown to Ontario on June 22 cost the GN $190,000. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
A charter flight that saw 40 Iqaluit inmates flown to Ontario on June 22 cost the GN $190,000. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

The Government of Nunavut shelled out more than $1.5 million for jail repairs and inmate relocation related to an overnight riot last June that saw a cellblock trashed at the Baffin Correctional Centre.

Repair costs amounted to less than half a million dollars, at an estimated cost of $435,000.

From the overall cost, the remainder after repairs was spent on the emergency relocation of 40 inmates following the June 20 riot, housing of those inmates in Ontario corrections facilities, and staff wages for overtime hours and travel escorts.

“All together, it’s an estimated cost of a little over $1.5 million,” Riita Strickland, Nunavut’s assistant deputy minister of justice, told Nunatsiaq News.

The housing of Nunavut inmates in Ontario is the most costly item, at around $888,000. That’s based on a daily rate of $317.24 per inmate.

While returning inmates to Nunavut on scheduled flights cost the GN around $15,000, the charter flight that saw inmates transferred to Ontario on Friday, June 22, cost $190,000.

The Department of Justice has a contingency fund of $200,000 for 2018-19. This amount was intended to cover all buildings owned by the department.

“Since the estimated cost of the repairs to BCC was more than this, the department will have to make a submission to the Financial Management Board to request the additional funds,” the Justice Department said in an email.

Airfare and staffing costs come from other budgets.

Corrections wage costs are broken down as follows:

• $10,000 for overtime pay to 16 staff who worked nine hours at the time of the riot.
• $22,000 to pay 19 escort staff who worked 16-and-a-half hours to transfer inmates to Ontario on a weekend.
• $3,000 in wages for escort staff who brought inmates back to Iqaluit.

Necessary repairs at the BCC wrapped up in mid-August, and inmates returned gradually for court dates. As of Sept. 25, all inmates who were currently able to return to Iqaluit were back at the Baffin Correctional Centre.

At the time of the riot, nine Nunavut inmates were already housed in Ontario corrections facilities. Of the 40 inmates transferred to the south, 37 have returned and three remain. This leaves 12 inmates in Ontario currently.

As of two weeks ago there were 48 inmates at the BCC. Capacity at the Nunavut corrections facility is 62. While security classifications remain the same, the recent repairs will make the jail more secure, Strickland said. Walls are now lined with thicker wooden boards and exterior walls are now metal plated.

The cause of the riot is still unclear, but Strickland said a few inmates have caused problems for the BCC on more than one occasion.

Of 26 inmates involved in the riot, 11 were given related charges. Two of those inmates were involved in a smaller riot last year.

Justice is now putting a new focus on programming for inmates, who lost their gym space so groundwork could be done for a new Iqaluit jail.

“The other area that we are primarily focusing on right now as a department is to continue to award and construct the Qikiqtani Correctional Healing Centre,” Strickland said of the BCC replacement that corrections hopes to open in 2021.

“Staff have been really amazing, pulling through this major incident. It took a great deal of effort coordinating within the department and outside,” Strickland said.

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(13) Comments:

#1. Posted by 59009 on October 22, 2018

money well spent confused

#2. Posted by ex-guard on October 22, 2018

Clearly shows restorative justice is working. These inmates took advantage of that way of corrections.

#3. Posted by The Old Trapper on October 22, 2018

$30,000 per hour for the flight on June 22nd?

Nolinor must have been laughing all the way to the bank. This is more than 3 times what a regular charter should have cost, even one at short notice.

The Auditor General needs to look into this very closely, this is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money.

#4. Posted by Let's Play Hardball on October 22, 2018

I hope that as Legislature reconvenes some tough questions are asked of the Justice Department. There seems to be a fair bit of fatalism and complacency around this.

#5. Posted by Not happy on October 22, 2018

These things in jail recieved more money then housing

#6. Posted by Incompetancy on October 23, 2018

Justice senior management incompetency is very much evident and no one is held accountable. whats going on in justice ???

#7. Posted by pissed off on October 23, 2018

Can someone check the figures on the overtime paid, and the cost of escort staff please ?

Either the figures are wrong or someone is gouging the system very badly???

also I agree with No 3 about the cost of the charter flight.

Someone must answer for these ridiculous spendings.

After all it is the people`s money.

I believe an enquiry is required

#8. Posted by Overtime on October 23, 2018

The cost of overtime is accurate. $22,000/19 staff = $1157.89/16 hours= $72.36 per hour as everyone was working outside their regularly scheduled hours…

#9. Posted by Former Insider on October 23, 2018

The Justice system in Nunavut needs to change (i.e to offer more programs). Remands (those waiting in custody who have not been sentenced or discharged yet) are not allowed to partake in programs offered in any of the facilities so it does not make sense for them to “earn” credits for time served. Even when inmates are sentenced there are very little programs ran because the officers are not trained to run programs like anger management, healthy relationships, cognitive behavioral therapy (might be a bit of a stretch for officers to get trained in but the psychologist definitely can and SHOULD offer this) , etc… Isn’t the point of corrections to correct these problematic behaviors and not perpetuate complacency?

#10. Posted by Inquiry Needed on October 23, 2018

I agree with #7. There should be an inquiry.

#9 Lot’s of remands take programs. The programs themselves are the problem. There are none.

#11. Posted by Former Insider on October 23, 2018

#10 How can lots of remands take programs if there are none? Makes no sense bud.

#12. Posted by #10 on October 23, 2018

#11 Good point. What I should have said is there are no programs that are worth a shit.

#13. Posted by 2nd Beagle on October 23, 2018

how are the rioters being dealt with because of what they did. That is a lot of damage and the inmates now know what not to do but what to do.

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