Behind bars — an inside look at Iqaluit’s new jail

The Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility officially opened on Wednesday

This is the lobby of the calm area in the new Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility, where inmates who are experiencing mental health issues go to be monitored closely and receive supports. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Iqaluit’s new jail, the Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility, officially opened on Wednesday morning, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion.

Territorial Justice Minister George Hickes did the honours, while members of the public and elders who were consulted in the building’s planning were in attendance.

This marks the first phase of the project to overhaul the old Baffin Correctional Centre, which was built in 1986.

The next centre is built behind the BCC, and Phase 2 of the project involves the renovation of the old facility, which will eventually form a part of the new jail.

The new 112-bed facility includes both medium- and maximum-security units, a space for elders, a library, and two negative pressure rooms where inmates with contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, could isolate, if necessary.

A full-body scanner, a new security system, and an elevator that cannot be controlled from the inside are other new features.

The building is also made mostly of non-combustible materials like concrete and metal, meaning it cannot burn down, Mickey McLeod, the warden and Nunavut’s acting corrections director, said during a media tour in August.

McLeod said the building’s design is intended to make it feel campus-like, with its high ceilings, natural light coming in and wooded doors.

Click through these photos to get a look inside, with information from the tour:

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Very nice on

    Beautiful hotel. What is the website for making reservations?

    • Posted by Sargent Stadanko on

      I believe intakes are purely merit based.

    • Posted by Buddy ol pal on

      @comment #1 Feel free to apply to work there. They pay well and they’re always looking for workers… Yeah, thought so

  2. Posted by What the on

    Why do criminals get to get a luxury hotel while our elders were sent down south?!?!?! Could have built an elders palace with that kind money spent on criminals who get free stay, food and everything else. Way to go!! ………NOT!

    • Posted by Yup on

      They are in the process of making multiple new elders homes and bringing back the elders from down south. but yes, these criminals get fancy new places to stay, as rankin inlet has a new prison and still not 1 elders place.

  3. Posted by iThink on

    Like it or not you have to concede that Justice is exceedingly good at milking the public purse, and with absolutely no expectation that they ever demonstrate any result or benefit to their massive investments toward what they like to call “healing.”

  4. Posted by Think About It on

    I wonder what the over/under is on this place being destroyed? My guess it should be at 4 1/2 months, before major repairs are required.

    • Posted by Can Confirm on

      I have seen this countless times I am sorry to say. That gym equipment will be shown little respect and will be ruined and replaced over and over until they eventually just give up on buying new stuff.

  5. Posted by Help from the Inuit Elders on

    We have to remember, this is with the help of our community elders. Their input matters to me.
    I myself is a bit surprised about the windows in the cells, but I guess less violence inside from the inmates. This is also meant to help and heal them, maybe this will help for those who will take advantage of what is provided to them.
    Safe environment for the people held there and the people that work there. Let’s not put judgement in yet, when we have yet to see how this plays down the road, the result of the changes.

  6. Posted by John K on

    Rehabilitive justice reduces crime and recidivism in every jurisdiction that tries it.

    Doesn’t matter to many people here apparently. I seem to be in the minority of people more interested in results than retribution.

    • Posted by Dig deeper on

      I’m with you, but what besides a great aesthetic is going to make that happen here?


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