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Elgin Middlesex Regional Intermittent Centre

Archived Backgrounder

Elgin Middlesex Regional Intermittent Centre

Ministry of the Solicitor General

The Ontario Regional Intermittent Centre Strategy

  • The Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre's (EMDC) Regional Intermittent Centre (RIC) is the second intermittent centre built in Ontario and the first to be built as part of Ontario's regional intermittent centre strategy.
  • The goal of Ontario's regional intermittent centre strategy is to ease capacity pressures when intermittent inmates enter facilities by building standalone intermittent centres on the sites of existing facilities.
  • The strategy keeps intermittent populations separate from the general inmate populations to help prevent the smuggling of contraband into facilities by weekend offenders.
  • It will also improve operational efficiency by leveraging staffing and site services with the main facilities. For example, the EMDC RIC has a new electronic security system, which has been integrated into the existing EMDC system.

EMDC RIC: Design features

  • The $9.3 million RIC is an all-male adult 112-bed facility with more than 22,000 square feet of functional space.
  • The facility includes various types of housing/beds in order to provide diverse accommodations such as general beds, accessible beds, a dormitory to manage special needs and a segregation unit.
  • The building is a tensioned membrane structure consisting of aluminum arches with a fabric panel overlay.
  • The dome design features an interior that is consistent with the appropriate security level and features to safely and securely house intermittent offenders. It also provides uninterrupted sight lines, while the tension membrane provides a bright and positive working environment.
  • The use of tension membrane technology allows for rapid deployment of the structure, which resulted in the RIC being designed and built within approximately 10 months.
  • The facility is located on the current EMDC site, with a physical link/walkway to the existing facility in order to leverage services such as kitchen and laundry.

Tension Membrane Structures

  • Tension membrane technology uses a non-corroding aluminum substructure overlaid with architectural membrane panels placed under high tension.
  • These structures can be built rapidly and are an ideal solution for minimum-to-medium security facilities such as an intermittent centre.
  • The structure is as secure as conventional facilities on the inside and has a 30-40 year lifespan, identical to traditional construction projects.
  • Construction costs can generally be up to 30-40 per cent less than conventional structures.

Examples of Where Tension Membrane Structures are Being Used

  • While this is the first tension membrane structure built for Ontario's correctional system, the tension membrane structure is currently being used effectively by correctional systems in British Columbia and the United States.
  • Tension membrane structures are tested and proven technology for minimum-to-medium security correctional facilities:
    • British Columbia Corrections: have been using tension membrane technology since 2008 to house sentenced offenders.
    • Texas: 2,000-bed processing facility, South Texas Detention Complex.
    • North Carolina: 640-bed jail addition, Charlotte North Jail Annex.
    • Colorado: 80-bed community detoxification facility, El Paso County Sheriff Office.

Intermittent sentences

  • An intermittent sentence is a custodial sentence for offenders to serve in "chunks" of time (typically weekends), rather than all at once.
  • Intermittent sentences have existed in Ontario since 1972, and are typically 90 days or less. To receive an intermittent sentence, the offender has to convince a judge that they have a job or other significant responsibilities that make it very difficult to serve a regular custodial sentence.
  • Ontario's first intermittent centre, the Toronto Intermittent Centre (TIC) opened in December 2011 as part of the newly-opened Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC). The 320-bed TIC is used by adult male inmates serving weekend intermittent sentences.

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