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Regional Intermittent Centre for Elgin Middlesex

Archived Backgrounder

Regional Intermittent Centre for Elgin Middlesex

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Ontario is transforming correctional services in Ontario to reduce the number of offenders who may re-offend. Modernizing infrastructure and effectively addressing capacity pressures is a key part of the transformation agenda.

Intermittent sentences 

  • Intermittent sentences have existed in Ontario since 1972.
  • An intermittent sentence is a sentence of 90 days or less that offenders serve in segments of time, typically on weekends, rather than all at once.
  • When deciding on issuing an intermittent sentence, judges consider the nature of the offence and the age and character of the offender. They may also consider whether child care or employment responsibilities would make it difficult to serve a regular sentence.
  • When an offender serving an intermittent sentence is not in jail, a judge can direct that the offender comply with conditions prescribed in a probation order.
  • Ontario's first intermittent centre, the Toronto Intermittent Centre opened in December 2011 as part of the Toronto South Detention Centre complex.
  • The 320-bed Toronto Intermittent Centre is used by adult male inmates serving intermittent sentences. 

The Ontario Regional Intermittent Centre Strategy 

  • The Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre Regional Intermittent Centre will be the first intermittent centre to be built as part of Ontario's Regional Intermittent Centre strategy.
  • Ontario's Regional Intermittent Centre Strategy is a secure, cost-efficient plan to build standalone intermittent centres on the sites of existing correctional facilities to help ease capacity pressures caused by an influx of inmates serving intermittent sentences.
  • The strategy keeps the intermittent population separate from the general inmate population, which helps prevent the smuggling of contraband into facilities by intermittent offenders.
  • The construction of an intermittent centre at the site of existing correctional facilities improves operational efficiency by using staff and services associated with the main facility. 

Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre Regional Intermittent Centre: Design features 

  • The $8.5 million Regional Intermittent Centre will be a 112-bed, approximately 25,000-square-foot, all-male facility.
  • The facility will include various types of beds in order to provide diverse accommodations, such as general beds, accessible beds, and a special custody unit.
  • The interior will include the same security levels and features used at other Ontario facilities to safely and securely house intermittent offenders.
  • The building will be a tensioned membrane structure consisting of aluminum arches with a fabric panel overlay. The tension membrane provides a bright working environment.
  • Tension membrane technology allows for the centre to be designed and built within approximately 10 months.
  • The facility will be located on the current Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre site, with a walkway to the existing facility.
  • The centre design will provide uninterrupted sight lines for corrections staff. 

Tension Membrane Structures 

  • Tension membrane technology uses a non-corroding aluminum substructure overlaid with architectural membrane panels placed under high tension.
  • This structure will be as secure as conventional facilities and have a 30-plus year lifespan, identical to traditional construction projects.
  • Construction costs using this technology are generally cheaper than conventional structures.
  • The intermittent centre be connected to the new electronic security technology recently deployed at completed at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. 

Examples of where Tension Membrane Structures are Being Used 

  • The tension membrane structure is currently being used effectively in British Columbia and correctional systems in the United States:
  • BC Corrections has been using tension membrane technology since 2008 to house sentenced offenders.
  • Texas operates a 2,000-bed processing facility, the South Texas Detention Complex.
  • North Carolina operates a 640-bed jail addition, the Charlotte North Jail Annex.
  • Colorado operates an 80-bed community detoxification facility, the El Paso County Sheriff Office.

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