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Feds looking at creating ‘Health Centre of Excellence’ at Dorchester Penitentiary

Click to play video: 'Federal government looking at creating ‘health centre of excellence’ at Dorchester Penitentiary' Federal government looking at creating ‘health centre of excellence’ at Dorchester Penitentiary
Fri, Mar 16: The federal government is looking at creating a health centre on the grounds of Dorchchester Penitentiary near Moncton. Corrections Canada is studying the costs and service delivery model for what they're touting as a “Health Centre of Excellence.” As Morganne Campbell reports, many say the current centre is less than adequate and poses several safety concerns for patients and staff – Mar 16, 2018

Hundreds of inmates call Dorchester Penitentiary home, but some of those inmates have needs that apparently are not being met by the corrections facility.

“We don’t have proper space we have to sometimes do interviews at the corner of a corridor, other patients can hear, it’s really not ideal. It’s not safe and patients who are vulnerable at times don’t feel safe,” explained Dr. Louis Theriault, a psychiatrist at the Shepody Healing Centre.

The Shepordy Healing Centre, a stand-alone facility within Dorchester Penitentiary, treats 53-inmates for mental health and psychiatric inpatient services.  The infrastructure at the centre hasn’t been upgraded in four decades and is more than showing it’s age.

Minister Dominic LeBlanc has announced the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) will undertake a study to create a “Health Centre of Excellence.”

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“We need a modern plan to build a modern state of the art centre of excellence nationally in terms of psychiatric treatment and mental health treatment for federally incarcerated inmates and it will be right here in West Moreland County in Dorchester, New Brunswick,” said LeBlanc.

READ MORE: Corrections Canada launches review after convicted murderer’s brief escape from Dorchester Penitentiary

The task force will look into best options moving forward, whether that means renovating the existing building or doing a completely new build somewhere on the grounds of Dorchester Penitentiary.

Their final report is due sometime in October, and if the project gets through all of the hurdles, shovels could be in the ground sometime in 2019.

“Every month and every four months that we’re not making progress will be for me a source of considerable frustration, so I intend to stick with this and get it done as quickly as we can,” vowed LeBlanc.

The facility would be recognized across the country, translating into additional jobs and opportunity to train CSC employees from coast to coast.

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