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Save Our Jails

by Jim Fraser

quick Facts on the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Citizen's Action Committee (BHNCAC)

The BHNCAC was formed in July 1997 when the Correctional Services Division (CSD) announced the closures of the Brantford Jail (BJ) and Burtch Correctional Centre (BCC) as a result of the plans of the Adult Infrastructure Renewal Project (AIRP).

The AIRP, announced by the CSD in September 1996, would close about 26 older jails, detention centres, and correctional centres, and centralize the inmate population within newly constructed megajails, or superjails. Some facilities would receive retrofits. In a nutshell, regional based correctional facilities would disappear, and much of the rehab programs with it.

In September 1998 Corrections Minister Robert Runciman announced plans to build a "regional" type facility on the site of the closing Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.. There will be about 100 psychiatric beds, and about 460 regular beds. Even though the new St. Lawrence Valley Correctional Treatment Centre is curiously located in Minister Runciman's own riding, the BHNCAC finds the continuation of "regional corrections" to be a positive trend, and surely gives us hope to achieve our goals in our own region.

The AIRP spelled out goals in which to base judgement over continuing existing facilities. The BHNCAC believes BCC is well suited for serving SW Ontario in the future, and we have developed an air-tight "action plan" to provide the CSD.


  • to maintain a correctional facility at Burtch C.C.
  • save about 200 jobs in our community
  • save taxpayer dollars through reduced operating costs
  • closure of the aged Brantford Jail
  • construction of a regional Detention Centre on the 400 acre Burtch property
  • complete the retrofitting of the current facility to allow for maximum utilization
  • return of programs and industries, including the farm, to lower recidivism, and save future dollars
  • the new facility should allow for the treatment and proper housing of the mentally disturbed inmate
Burtch C.C. FACTS
  • location- BCC is about 6 km. Southwest of Brantford and close to the newly completed Hwy. 403
  • Site- 400 acres of farm land with an excellent already serviced site for a Regional Detention Centre
  • Existing Facility- BCC is a thoroughly modern minimum/medium security institution with 366 beds
  • Infrastructure- the services required to allow expansion are already in place
  • Staff- Professional staff and managers with many years of experience and dedication
  • Economic impact- A study completed indicates the potential loss of $20 million to the local economy
  • Community- inmate volunteers benefit our community in many ways (i.e. St. Joe's hosp+camp trillium)
  • Inmate programs- BCC in conjunction with Pinetree Native Centre have unique Native programs
  • municipal costs- A closed BCC would incur downloading costs associated with transporting inmates
  • Cost of construction- with the infrastructure here, land, services, the gov't could save $millions
the BHNCAC'a Action plan includes an improvement in offender programming, a new regional detention centre, lower operating costs ($71.31 per diem---that's below the $75 target set by the AIRP) and enhances our communities economy and pride. We have received official endorsements from Brant County, City of Brantford, Town of Simcoe, Township of Brantford, Six Nations First Nation, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Chambers of Commerce, Local media, and countless individuals. I was at Queen's Park on 8 Dec 1998 and our 200+ pg. Package given to Mr. Runciman, Mr. Ramsay, and Mr. Hampton.

Jim Fraser is the co-chair of BHNCAC, and can be contacted by phone at 519-428-2057, or email at jffraser@kwic.com. Their website is located at: http://members.xoom.com/jffraser/public_html/jimfraser.html
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